Change in Mediterranean wind pattern can affect track of cyclones in Bay of Bengal: Study

Updated on Nov 25, 2022 12:23 AM IST

The research also found a link between cyclone tracks and changes in atmospheric wind pattern in the subtropic

Wind pattern over the Bay of Bengal can significantly alter the track of cyclones. (REPRESENTATIVE PHOTO)
Wind pattern over the Bay of Bengal can significantly alter the track of cyclones. (REPRESENTATIVE PHOTO)
ByNamrata Devikar

Recent research has found that changes in the wind patterns in the Mediterranean region, which is 8,500 km away from the Bay of Bengal, can affect the track of cyclones in the Bay of Bengal region via atmospheric teleconnection. The research also found a link between cyclone tracks and changes in atmospheric wind pattern in the subtropics. The findings of the paper, ‘Role of subtropical Rossby waves in governing the track of cyclones in the Bay of Bengal’ were published in the international journal, ‘Royal Meteorological Society’ on November 23. Vineet Kumar, lead author of the paper and researcher from the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune, said that the paper studies cyclones between 1982 and 2019. “During the period from 1982 to 2019, in November, 74% of the cyclones formed in the Bay of Bengal moved in a west-northwest direction towards the east coast of India or the Sri Lanka coast while the remaining 26% moved in the north-northeast direction towards West Bengal or the Myanmar coast. The track of cyclones is generally controlled by the atmospheric wind direction,” Kumar said. He added that any changes in the wind direction can significantly alter the track of cyclones.

“Our research shows that an atmospheric disturbance over the Mediterranean region triggers changes in the atmospheric pressure and wind pattern in the region. This atmospheric disturbance which is generated 8,500 km from the Bay of Bengal namely over the Mediterranean region, propagates eastward along the jet stream in the upper level of the atmosphere and reaches the Bay of Bengal within four or five days of its origin,” Kumar said.

As a result, the wind pattern over the Bay of Bengal changes in such a way that the cyclone formed during this time in the basin travels in the north-northeast direction towards West Bengal or Bangladesh or the Myanmar coast. “However, in the absence of such a disturbance, the east coast of India, that is the Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu coasts, are more prone to cyclones in the month of November,” Kumar said.

He added that this paper is important in understanding the track of cyclones and hence, forecasting where their landfall may affect life and property. “The prediction of cyclone tracks with high lead time is important as it will provide ample time for preparation at the coast and evacuation. Thus, the mechanism discussed in this paper can tell within four to five days in which direction a cyclone is going to move and accordingly, the disaster management team can prepare,” Kumar said.

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