Indian subcontinent is world’s most affected region with regard to tropical cyclones — between 1891 and 2000, 308 cyclones have struck India’s east coast.
Bay of Bengal vs Arabian Sea
Most cyclones formed along the western coast of the country veer towards Oman — 58 per cent of the storms that form in the Bay of Bengal (BOB) hit the coast while only 25 per cent of those in the Arabian Sea does.
This is because of the way formation of Cyclone:
- The sun heats up the ocean’s surface, causing warm air and moisture from the top layers to rise up from the warm oceanic waters.
- The rising air creates a space that gets filled by more air rushing in.
- The warm ocean water causes the incoming air to become warm as well.
- The air that previously rose forms clouds, while the new warm air rises with humidity, creating a cycle of warm, moist air continuously ascending and forming giant humid clouds.
- This system gradually increases in height and size, spreading out and generating a spinning tropical cyclone.
- Mountains in East Africa help the country’s western coast by directing a significant amount of wind toward the Arabian Peninsula, efficiently dissipating heat across the Arabian Sea.
- As a result, this part of the ocean remains relatively cool and produces fewer cyclones.
- On the eastern coast, the shape of the land around the Bay of Bengal ensures that the winds over the ocean are slower and weaker.
- This part of the Indian Ocean is also supplied with a constant source of freshwater from giant rivers like the Ganga and the Brahmaputra.
- The freshwater from these rivers replaces the evaporated top layers, warms up at the surface, and rises as moisture, making it challenging for the warm and cool layers of water to mix properly.
- This keeps the surface consistently warm and ready to fuel any potential cyclone that forms over it.
- Furthermore, the Bay of Bengal also serves as a pathway for cyclones formed over the Pacific.
- Since there is no landmass large enough to halt these Pacific cyclones, they pass through Malaysia and the Gulf of Thailand before entering the Bay of Bengal.
- Once they reach the Bay of Bengal, the Himalayas and the Western Ghats prevent the winds from crossing over, causing them to circulate within the bay.
- States such as Andhra and Odisha are situated in a vulnerable position with the right orientation, increasing their probability of being impacted by cyclone.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) about Cyclones Hitting India’s East Coast
Ques 1. What geographical feature makes India’s east coast more susceptible to cyclones?
Ans. The presence of the warm Bay of Bengal provides a favorable environment for cyclone formation and intensification, making India’s east coast more vulnerable to cyclonic impacts.
Ques 2. How does the coastline orientation contribute to cyclone landfalls on the east coast?
Ans. The east coast of India has a relatively straight coastline facing the Bay of Bengal, providing a direct path for cyclones originating from disturbances in the Bay. This increases the likelihood of cyclones hitting the east coast.
Ques 3.What natural barriers influence cyclone tracks in the Bay of Bengal?
Ans. The Himalayas and Western Ghats act as natural barriers, preventing cyclones from crossing over to the west coast of India. As a result, cyclones tend to circulate within the Bay of Bengal and make landfall more frequently on the east coast.
Ques 4. Which regions along the east coast are more vulnerable to cyclone impacts?
Ans. States like Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu are more vulnerable to cyclone landfalls due to their geographic location and the presence of major river deltas like the Ganga and the Brahmaputra.
Ques 5. What steps has India taken to mitigate cyclone impacts on the east coast?
Ans. India has implemented measures such as early warning systems, cyclone shelters, evacuation plans, and disaster response teams to mitigate the impact of cyclones on the east coast. The National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project (NCRMP) is a significant initiative aimed at enhancing cyclone resilience in coastal areas.
Why do most cyclones hit India’s east coast?
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