Tropical cyclones are largely confined to South China Sea, Bay of Bengal and Gulf of Mexico. Why?
South China Sea, Bay of Bengal, and Gulf of Mexico experience a higher frequency of cyclone activity due to several reasons:
- Warm Sea Surface Temperatures: Tropical cyclones require warm ocean waters with temperatures typically above 26.5 °C to fuel their development and intensification. The South China Sea, Bay of Bengal, and Gulf of Mexico have favourable sea surface temperatures for sustaining tropical cyclones.
- Favourable Atmospheric Conditions: Tropical cyclones thrive in an environment characterized by low vertical wind shear (the change in wind speed and direction with height) and high atmospheric moisture. These regions often have the right atmospheric conditions that promote cyclone formation and intensification.
- Geographical Factors: The geography of the South China Sea, Bay of Bengal, and Gulf of Mexico contributes to their susceptibility to tropical cyclones. The warm waters and relatively flat coastal areas provide an environment where cyclones can form and move over vast expanses of water without significant land barriers to weaken them.
- Monsoon Systems: The South China Sea and the Bay of Bengal are influenced by the Asian monsoon systems. These seasonal wind patterns, combined with the warm waters, create favourable conditions for cyclone formation during certain times of the year.
- Climate Patterns: Climate patterns, such as the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), can influence tropical cyclone activity in different regions. The El Niño phase, for example, tends to suppress cyclone activity in the Pacific Ocean but can enhance it in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico.
Tropical cyclones do occur in other parts of the world as well, such as the Atlantic Ocean, the Western Pacific Ocean (including the Philippines and Japan), the Indian Ocean, and the Australian region. However, the South China Sea, Bay of Bengal, and Gulf of Mexico experience a higher frequency of tropical cyclone activity due to the combination of favorable environmental conditions and geographical factors as mentioned above in those regions.