How Cyclone Nisarga got its name - process and origins explained

  • The tradition of naming tropical cyclones dates back to 2000 in India and cyclones are christened with unique names in order to quickly identify them and issue warnings in their names.

  • Naming cyclones makes it easy for the media to report on them in addition to increasing the community’s focus and preparedness.

  • The answer to the questions, who names cyclones and how they are named can be quite interesting.
Over the past few years, we have come across the names of some tropical cyclones like Hudhud, Titli, Phethai, Fani, Vayu and Amphan. Now, Cyclone Nisarga is set to hit India’s western coast. If you are not familiar with who names cyclones and how they are named, here is the whole process explained.

In the year 2000, a group of tropical countries including Bangladesh, India, the Maldives, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Thailand decided that they would start naming cyclones occurring in the region.

Calling for suggestions from these countries, the World Meteorological Organization/Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific Panel on Tropical Cyclones (PTC) prepared a list of cyclone names. In 2018, five more countries including Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and the United Arab Emirates joined them.

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Here is how Nisarga was named

The name of Nisarga cyclone was picked up from the list of 169 names released by IMD in April 2020. Nisarga, the devastating cyclonic storm followed the cyclone called Amphan that caused widespread damage in West Bengal and Bangladesh coast in May 2020. The name Nisarga was suggested by Bangladesh.

In April 2020, IMD released 169 cyclone names

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The India Meteorological Department (IMD) released a list of 169 names that would help choose the names for the future cyclones that the region would face. These names will be applied to the cyclones emerging in the north Indian Ocean including the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea.

IMD is responsible for naming the cyclones in the region while following a standardized procedure. IMD also issues advisories to 12 other countries scattered in the region regarding the developments of the cyclones and storms.

Reasons why cyclones are named

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Names make it easy for the scientific community, disaster management, media and public to identify the cyclone. It is believed that the warnings issued with a designated name will reach a wider audience more easily.

The news and warnings issued in the name of a cyclone keeps people on their toes and enhances their preparedness.

Names also help avoid confusion when two or more cyclones happen in the same locality at a given point of time.

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The origin of cyclone names

Cyclones are not named after people. The names which are given to cyclones also do not follow any alphabetical sequence. Usually, they are picked up from the vernacular languages of the regions confronting cyclones.

There is a strict procedure governing the process of preparing a list of names for the tropical cyclones occurring in a given ocean basin. The tropical cyclone regional body responsible for a particular ocean basin prepares a list of names that can be used future cyclones during an annual or biennial meeting.

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In every region, the Regional Specialized Meteorological Centres (RSMC) have the responsibility to disseminate the information about the cyclones, issue warnings and advisories, and monitor and predict the cyclones occurring in their respective regions.

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The names for cyclones are approved provided the suggested terms are neither rude nor cruel and if they do not affect the sentiments of the people in the region. Eight letters is the maximum length of a cyclone name. The names approved are usually easy to pronounce. Names applied to a cyclone is never used once again for subsequent cyclones.

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See Also -
Maharashtra will be most affected by Cyclone 'Nisarga', warns IMD

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