New Delhi: The Arabian Sea is witnessing one of the highest number of cyclonic disturbances in a year till date.
Normally, the Arabian Sea sees 1.7 cyclonic disturbances (depressions/deep depressions) annually, of which usually one develops into a cyclonic storm. However, this year so far, a total of seven cyclonic disturbances have formed in the Arabian Sea, the most so far. Four of these developed into a cyclone. Two of the cyclonic disturbances are currently brewing in the vast ocean and if they intensify into cyclones it would take the total number of cyclones to six, which would be the most since 1902.
One of these systems over the southwest Arabian Sea is most likely to become cyclonic storm Pawan by Thursday morning and move towards the Somalia coast over the next three days, according to the India Meteorological Department’s (IMD’s) latest forecast. The other system that has formed in the east-central Arabian Sea could maintain its intensity as a deep depression and then weaken over the next 36 hours, the latest forecast indicated. In case it intensifies further, it would become cyclonic storm Amphan.
“This is rare situation that is happening again when two cyclones can be seen forming simultaneously in the Arabian Sea, just like it happened with Kyarr and Maha recently," said K.S. Hosalikar, deputy director general of meteorology at IMD Mumbai on Wednesday evening when the system was fast intensifying and was expected to develop into potential cyclones.
The year not only saw the most number of cyclones forming in the north Indian Ocean, which includes the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, but also the most intense ones. Out of the seven cyclones in the north Indian Ocean so far, six had intensified into severe cyclonic storms, which happened for the first time in a century. One of them, Cyclone Kyarr ended up becoming a Super Cyclone in the Arabian Sea.
“The south Arabian Sea is warmer than usual this year. Rising temperatures associated with global warming have a role to play in it, but it is majorly because of a phenomenon called the Indian Ocean Dipole, which indicates changes in the sea-surface temperatures between the tropical western and eastern Indian Ocean," said Roxy Mathew Koll, senior scientist at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune. “Cyclones draw their energy from the ocean and such warming fuels more cyclones," said Koll.
Interestingly, another weather phenomenon called the Madden Jullian Oscillation (MJO), a band of rain clouds moving eastward over the tropics, is also currently active in the Indian Ocean and providing conducive conditions for the development of such systems .