Why Amphan, Nisarga or Arnab? Know The Criteria for Selection of Names of Tropical Cyclones from Character Limits to Pronunciation

Sandhya Dangwal

The new list of cyclones released by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) in April 2020 include names like Arnab, Nisarga, Aag, Vyom, Azar, Pinku, Tej, Gati, Lulu among 160 other names. But have you wondered how are these tropical cyclones named? Have you ever thought what procedures do member countries follow while naming cyclones? There is a particular procedure that needs to be followed by countries while naming a cyclone. The names of tropical cyclones over the north Indian Ocean will not be repeated once they are used. This means, once the name from the list is used, it will cease to be used again. Thus, the name should be new and it should not be there in the already existing list of any of the RSMCs worldwide including RSMC, New Delhi. Nisarga Cyclone to Be Next After Amphan Which Will be Formed Over North Indian Ocean; How it Got Its Name and What It Means.

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Amphan was the cyclone name given by Thailand. It was the last name in the list of 64 cyclone names proposed back in September 2004. After Amphan, the next cyclone in the north Indian Ocean region will be Nisarga, a name given by Bangladesh. In the new list that was released by the IMD in April 2020, there are 169 new names. The new cyclone name list comprises of names of 13 cyclones each for the 13 member countries, totaling to 169 names. The names for India include Gati, Tej, Murasu, Aag, Vyom, Jhar, Probaho, Neer, Prabhanjan, Ghurni, Ambud, Jaladhi and Vega. The new detailed list includes the cyclone names that would originate in the Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean.

How are Cyclones named by member countries?

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  1. The proposed name should be neutral to politics and political figures, religious believes, cultures and gender
  2. Name should be chosen in such a way that it does not hurt the sentiments of any group of population over the globe
  3. It should not be very rude and cruel in nature
  4. It should be short, easy to pronounce and should not be offensive to any member
  5. The maximum length of the name will be eight letters
  6. The proposed name should be provided along with its pronunciation and voice over
  7. The Panel reserves the right to reject any name, if any of the criteria above is not satisfied.
  8. The finalised names may also be reviewed during the course of time of implementation with the approval of PTC in its annual session, in case any reasonable objection is raised by any member.

The Regional Specialised Meteorological Centre (RSMC) in New Delhi will be responsible to name tropical cyclones forming over the North Indian Ocean including Bay of Bengal & the Arabian Sea. The cyclones will be named when they have been diagnosed with maximum sustained surface wind speed of 34 knots (62 kmph) or more.

The naming of tropical cyclones helps the scientific community, disaster managers, media and general masses to identify each individual cyclone, create awareness of its development and  rapidly and effectively issue warnings to people.