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EXPLAINED: CYCLONE NIVAR

EXPLAINED: CYCLONE NIVAR

Context

Cyclone Nivar, the very severe cyclonic storm, crossed the Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coast near Puducherry.

Details

Nivar originated from a disturbance in the Intertropical Convergence Zone.

About Cyclones

Cyclones are caused by atmospheric disturbances around a low-pressure area distinguished by swift and often destructive air circulation. They are usually accompanied by violent storms and bad weather. The air circulates inward in an anticlockwise direction in the northern hemisphere and clockwise in the southern hemisphere.

Cyclones are classified as (i) Extratropical cyclones (also called temperate cyclones); and (ii) tropical cyclones.

The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO, 1976) uses the term ‘tropical cyclone’ to cover weather systems in which winds exceed ‘gale force’ (minimum of 34 knots or 63 Kph). Tropical cyclones are the progeny of ocean and atmosphere, powered by the heat from the sea, driven by the easterly trades and temperate westerlies, the high planetary winds and their own fierce energy.

Extratropical cyclones occur in temperate zones and high latitude regions, though they are known to originate in the polar regions.

Cyclones that develop in the regions between the tropics of Capricorn and Cancer are called tropical cyclones. Tropical cyclones are large-scale weather systems developing over tropical or subtropical waters, where they get organized into surface wind circulation.

Cyclones are given many names in different regions of the world – they are known as typhoons in the China Sea and the Pacific Ocean; hurricanes in the West Indian islands in the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean; tornados in the Guinea lands of West Africa and the southern USA.; willy-willies in north-western Australia and tropical cyclones in the Indian Ocean.

The word cyclone is derived from the Greek word `Cyclos’ meaning the coils of a snake. It was coined by Henry Paddington because the tropical storms in the Bay of Bengal and in the Arabian Sea appeared like the coiled serpents of the sea.

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