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What is a Bomb Cyclone?

GS Paper 1:

Topics Covered: Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc.



The US East Coast is bracing itself for a “bomb cyclone” (Nor’easter) that is on course to to barrel in from the mid-Atlantic.


Current Affairs


What is a Bomb Cyclone?

Bombogenesis is the technical term. ‘Bomb cyclone’ is a shortened version of it, better for social media.”

  • It is a mid-latitude cyclone that intensifies rapidly.
  • It has low pressure at its center, weather fronts and an array of associated weather, from blizzards to severe thunderstorms to heavy precipitation.

When is it formed? Generally, a bomb cyclone happens when atmospheric pressure in the middle of the storm drops at least 24 millibars over 24 hours, quickly increasing in intensity. The lower the pressure, the stronger the storm.


Currrent Affairs


How is it different from hurricanes?

  • It essentially amounts to a rapidly developing storm system, distinct from a tropical hurricane because it occurs over midlatitudes where fronts of warm and cold air meet and collide, rather than relying on the balmy ocean waters of late summer as a catalyst.
  • Bomb cyclones have cold air and fronts: Cold air rapidly weakens hurricanes, while it is an essential ingredient for bomb cyclones.
  • Bomb cyclones form during winter: Hurricanes form from late spring to early fall, while bomb cyclones form from late fall to early spring.
  • Bomb cyclones form at higher latitudes: Hurricanes form in tropical waters, while bomb cyclones form over the northwestern Atlantic, northwestern Pacific and sometimes the Mediterranean Sea.


Current Affairs


Insta Curious:

Did you know that two famed meteorologists, Fred Sanders and John Gyakum, gave bomb Cyclone pattern its name in a 1980 study?


Did you know that all bomb cyclones are not hurricanes? But sometimes, they can take on characteristics that make them look an awful lot like hurricanes, with very strong winds, heavy precipitation and well-defined eye-like features in the middle.



Prelims Link:

  1. What is a cyclone?
  2. Differences between cyclones, hurricanes and typhoons.
  3. What is a Bomb Cyclone?

Mains Link:

What is a Bomb Cyclone? How is it formed?

Sources: the Hindu.