Bomb cyclone – UPSC Prelims

What is a bomb cyclone?
  • It is a mid-latitude cyclone that intensifies rapidly.
  • It is a massive winter storm hammering the coast, bringing strong winds, flooding, ice and snow.
  • It is a combination of rapidly declining pressure and extreme cold.
  • This particular storm is the most explosive ever, observed on the east coast.
  • It is called bomb cyclone, a dramatic name for what happens when the storm explosively strengthens while the pressure plummets.
  • It begins in the temperate latitudes and strengthens fast, with the atmospheric pressure at its center dropping swiftly, a process now called “bombogenesis.”
What is bombogenesis?
  • The word “bombogenesis” is a combination of cyclogenesis, which describes the formation of a cyclone or storm, and bomb.
  • This can happen when a cold air mass collides with a warm air mass, such as air over warm ocean waters.
  • It occurs when a midlatitude cyclone rapidly intensifies, dropping at least 24 millibars over 24 hours.
  • Bombogenesis is fairly common in the Pacific Ocean region because there is enough water surface area for strengthening.
  • It has happened a few times on the Atlantic coastline; however, it is not as common there.
How is a Bomb Cyclone formed?
  • Principal mechanism for its formation has been cited as baroclinic instability.
  • Deep tropospheric frontogenic processes which occur both during upstream and downstream of the cyclon’s surface
  • Influence of air-sea interaction
  • Latent heat release
In which region does a Bomb Cyclone occur?
  • There are four active regions which are hot spots for Bomb Cyclone:
    1. The Northwest Pacific
    2. The Northern region of the Atlantic Ocean
    3. The Southwest Pacific
    4. The Southern region of the  Atlantic Ocean.
  • There is speculation that there may be new regions that will be subject to bomb cyclones due to climate change.
  • The number of explosive cyclones occurring is found to be more within the north of the Atlantic Gulf Stream, in Western Pacific and. In the Southern Hemisphere, it largely occurs around the eastern coast of Australia.
  • Explosively deepening cyclones south of 50°S often show equator-ward movement, in contrast with the poleward motion of most Northern Hemisphere bombs.

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