Climate Change

There is a chance of cyclone formation in the Bay of Bengal in the second week of May

A low-pressure area will form during that time; however, it is not yet clear as to how the depression will intensify  

By Akshit Sangomla
Published: Monday 01 May 2023
There is a chance of cyclone formation in the Bay of Bengal in the second week of May
Representative photo from iStock Representative photo from iStock

A low-pressure area is going to form in the Bay of Bengal around May 5, 2023, which may intensify into a depression, Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, director general, India Meteorological Department (IMD), told the television station Odisha TV.

Mohapatra hasn’t commented on the depression further intensifying into a cyclone and there is no official press release in this regard from IMD.

“Cyclogenesis is favoured by the warm sea surface temperatures (SST) so we have to see how the depression intensifies,” Raghu Murtugudde, a climate scientist at the University of Maryland and Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, told Down To Earth.

There have been some major cyclones in previous years during April and May, some of which have disrupted the setting up of the monsoon winds in the Bay of Bengal. Others have aided its quick progress.

While the disruption affected the rainfall season’s onset over Kerala and its progress throughout India, the aiding process brought early floods to some regions.

In 2022, Cyclone Asani had formed in the first week of May and dissipated in the second week of May. It had pulled the monsoon winds into the Andaman Sea but did not pull any further.

After a few days of good progress, the monsoon stalled over the Bay of Bengal for many days though it did make an onset over Kerala on May 29 which was earlier than the normal date of June 1. This was, however, a couple of days later than what IMD had predicted.

The monsoon’s onset over the rest of the country in the first month had also remained patchy without much rain. Some experts had even questioned if the monsoon had actually arrived in the country.

In 2021, there were two cyclones before the onset of the monsoon season. The first was cyclone Tauktae in the Arabian Sea in the second and third week of May.

It was one of the strongest cyclones to make landfall along the western coast of the country and had affected the setting up of monsoon winds over the Bay of Bengal.

The second was Cyclone Yaas. It formed in the Bay of Bengal in the last week of May, just before the onset of the monsoon season and pulled the winds towards the eastern regions. Yaas thus caused an early onset of rainfall and early floods in some regions such as Bihar.

In 2020, Cyclone Amphan in the Bay of Bengal and Cyclone Nisarga in the Arabian Sea had similarly disputed the onset and progress of monsoon season over India.

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