India has been experiencing recurring cyclones over the past few years. Recently, Cyclone Michaung shook the lives of citizens of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. At this juncture, businessline’s Anjana PV talks to Vinson Kurian, consultant, businessline, to understand the formation of cyclones and the reasons behind them. 

Vinson breaks down the formation of cyclones in simple terms, emphasising the role of low-pressure areas over the ocean. He explains how the Coriolis force and warm ocean waters contribute to the swirling motion of air, eventually leading to the development of cyclones. The discussion extends to the factors influencing cyclone intensity, ranging from low-pressure areas to warm tropical oceans, and the crucial role of moisture. 

The conversation then shifts to the impact of climate change on cyclones. He provides insights into studies suggesting an increase in cyclone intensity due to global warming, highlighting the link between rising ocean temperatures and the enhanced availability of moisture. Vinson explores the nuanced dynamics of cyclones in the Arabian Sea versus the Bay of Bengal, showcasing how climate models project changes in frequency, duration, and intensity. 

As the discussion unfolds, he sheds light on cyclogenesis, the birth of cyclones, and the environmental factors crucial for their formation. The dialogue seamlessly transitions to the warming of oceans and its contribution to cyclone strength, emphasising the role of ocean temperature and wind shear. He also touches upon the potential impact of climate change on cyclone frequency, sharing projections about fewer cyclones but increased intensity. 

The podcast also explains about coping mechanisms and infrastructure in place to mitigate the impact of cyclones in India. Vinson discusses the significant improvements made over the years, citing the National Disaster Management Authority, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), and the National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project. He highlights the role of last-mile connectivity, structural measures, technical assistance, and project management in enhancing the country’s resilience against cyclones. Vinson also explains how IMD’s cyclone early warning capacity has evolved over the years.