Wednesday, May 27, 2009

naming cyclones

ever wondered how they come up with these names for the cyclones and typhoons that hit coasts across the globe? (and ever wondered why most of them are named after women? aptly so, some might say!:P )

most of you would know that the latest cyclone which hit the coast of india and bangladesh was called 'aila' (no, its not a marathi word :P ) and it means fire in the dhivehi language of the maldives.

ok, now check this out... let me mess with your minds a little bit! i can predict what the next three big storms which hit this part of the world are going to be called! hold your breath... they will be called - phyan, ward and laila! got you there, didn't i? i love this! :)

well, this is the point where i let you into a little-known secret... cyclone names across the world are fixed in advance! this is apparently done by the WMO (world meterological organisation) which is an inter-governmental body that collaborates on everything to do with weather... they also make a list of names for storms & cyclones!

in the us (trust them!) they apparently used to use only women's names for the devastating cyclones they are regularly plagued by... until 1979... feminie protests made them amend their ways and so now they name them with male and demale names alternately! that's like sharing the blame equally for all the mess we create in the world! :P

read all about the naming of cyclones on livemint here.


Suren said...

In the honour of the 'cyclone' of zoozoo ads, we should also have names from the zoozoo vocabulary like "Heggech", "Majula", and "Puchchunkada" :P

Madhav said...

was very fascinated with the naming of hurricanes in the US, when we lived there ... each calendar year they are named, at the beginning of the year, in alphabetical order with female / male name alternatively (female name starting with A followed by male name starting with B and so on..)... hurricane katrina was the 11th (K being 11th alphabet) hurricane in 2005.. in that year they almost finished the alphabet... also a bad name is withdrawn for ever (eg. katrina is a name that was officially withdrawn and will never be used). For 2009 the list of names is ANA, BILL, CLAUDETTE, DANNYEDOUARD,FRED, GRACE, HENRI, IDA, JOAQUIN, KATE, LARRY, MINDY, NICHOLAS,ODETTE, PETER, ROSE, SAM, TERESA, VICTOR, WANDA...

Sandeep Gupta said...

Many of the cyclones in the U.S. have very innocuous, cuddly sounding names, which bely the tremendous damage and destruction that they cause!

For example - FRED and GRACE.

AILA doesn't sound dangerous or threatening either. Whoever names cyclones should come up with a list of scary-sounding names which reflect the threat posed by them!

Bindu said...

I’am trying to interpret CYCLONE
Cyclical one.. ??

Tys on Ice said...

i think the next one shud be named after my daughter....a 1 year old whts the diff between a hurrican, typhoon and a cyclone?

Monil said...

Hurricanes, typhoons and tropical cyclones are different names for the same type of storm. A tropical cyclone is called a hurricane in the North Atlantic Ocean, South Pacific Ocean, or the Northeast Pacific Ocean on the eastern side of the dateline. A typhoon occurs in the Northwest Pacific Ocean west of the dateline. In other parts of the world, these storms are called severe tropical cyclones.

A hurricane, then, is a cyclonic storm with maximum sustained winds over 74 mph (64 knots; 119 kph). Hurricanes are then further classed according to strength by the Saffir-Simpson Scale. There are five strength categories, with a Category 5 storm rating maximum sustained winds over 156 mph (136 knots; 251 kph).

A hurricane generally starts as an organized band of convection, or thunderstorms, called a tropical wave. When conditions are favorable, the wave starts to further organize and strengthen. Convection increases and the wave starts taking on cyclonic characteristics. If strengthening continues, it develops an eye and eyewall and soon becomes a hurricane. Favorable conditions for hurricane development include the system being over very warm water, and in an environment with little wind shear. Wind shear “tears up” a hurricane because it sends winds in the opposite direction, thereby inhibiting the cyclone’s formation.

Source :

Preeti Shenoy said...

Whoever thought that they name cyclones in advance! Like its important!! As though it will less devastating if it had a name!

Guruprasad said...

@ suren : good one... and these names sound scary too! :)

@ madhav : didn't know about naming them in alphabetical sequence... thanks for that info :)

@ sandeep : i agree :)
but most of the names i could think of would have all the women readers calling me an mcp! :P

@ bindu : you can find out about the origin here -

@ tys on ice : i share your sentiments... my younger one also qualifies :P

Guruprasad said...

@ monil : thanks for the info...

@ preeti : true... but its fascinating how they come up with the names, isn't it? i never knew this before! :)

Swaram said...

I always wondered what makes them name cyclones as though its a gr8 thing which has happened. Then, I thought it makes sense when they want to refer to it .. easy to associate them with names.

This was an interesting read. I never knew the names were decided in advance. Thanx for sharing.