Cyclone Tauktae: Strongest in West Coast in Two Decade

Tauktae is the first cyclone of 2021. The IMD has predicted that Tauktae cyclone will intensify into a severe cyclonic storm and then later into a Very Severe Cyclonic storm. It is expected to be the strongest in the west coast in two decades.

Background

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently reviewed the impacts of climate change on tropical cyclones. This includes all typhoons, cyclones and hurricanes. They have concluded that Cyclone Tauktae will be the strongest of all cyclones that hit the West Coast of India in two decades.

The wind speed of cyclone Tauktae is expected to reach till 160 kilometres per hour. With this and the data on other tropical cyclones, NOAA predicts that the wind speeds of the cyclones are to increase by 5% as the world warms by two degrees Celsius in 2100.

Extremely severe cyclones such as Amphan and Fani intensified from a weak to severe status in less than twenty-four hours. Similar rapid intensification is expected with Tauktae cyclone. It will help making the cyclone the strongest of all the previous cyclones in two decades. The warm ocean waters act as fuel to the rapid intensification of cyclones.

Why is Cyclone Tauktae stronger than the previous ones?

The following factors are in favour of the cyclone to grow in strength:

  • High Tropical cyclone Heat Potential,
  • Madden Julian Oscillation Index,
  • Favourable high Sea Surface Temperature
  • Good poleward outflow

The Tropical Cyclone heat potential is the measure of the integrated vertical temperature from the sea surface to a depth of twenty-six degrees isotherm. Isotherm is a line that connects points with same temperature. If this is high, it aids in more and more air getting heated up aiding cyclone formation. Eventually, low pressure increases and more high-pressure winds gushes in leading to further intensification of the cyclone.

Madden Julian Oscillation Index speaks about the fluctuation in tropical weather.

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