Why eastern coast of India is more vulnerable?


As you could see the severity of cyclones in the picture, eastern coast of India is facing a single unwelcomed severe cyclone every year for centuries such as Fani, Amphan, and recently the Yaas. That makes the Indian subcontinent one of the worst cyclone-affected areas in the world. It strikes directly into the economic, social, political well-being of the people of the region. It totally disturbs or vandalizes the region by causing extensive losses to every single life in the region be it the plants, animals, or humans. There are so many tropical cyclones that come from the Bay of Bengal and make landfall on the Odisha coast. Why is this coast such a magnet for these tropical cyclones, with 80% of total cyclones?

The reasons

  • Geography: When winds come from the Bay of Bengal are usually stopped by the mountains on either side of India the Himalayas on top and the Western Ghats on the west. When these winds tend to slow down, so storm originated from the Bay of Bengal and then moves towards inland India, they don’t have a way beyond the subcontinent. Therefore, they tend to swirl around the Bay of Bengal region. Among the cyclones that are formed in the Bay of Bengal, over 58 percent approach and cross the eastern coast. On the other hand, only 25 percent of the cyclones that develop over the Arabian Sea approach the western coast.
  • The winds: The winds over the Bay of Bengal are a lot more sluggish compared to the Arabian Sea and therefore, the winds fail to reduce the surface temperature of the sea. Tropical depressions are the primary reason for the monsoon rains that the Indo-Gangetic plains and most of northern India receive. It is also the primary reason for the formation of cyclones.
  • Mechanism: There is whole some of water that is evaporating and cool air rushes in current, that ultimately leads to cyclone. Bay of Bengal have fresh water sources like the river Ganga, Yamuna and Brahmaputra drains here into the ocean, as a result, the top layer of the ocean is always warm due to new water addition of water. This warm water doesn’t get an opportunity to mix well with cold water underneath, which is a more conducive nursery for more tropical cyclones.
  • Others: The Bay of Bengal is hotter than Arabian sea, which is a basic criteria for development and intensification of cyclones. The Arabian sea has more salinity over the Bay of Bengal, and it is easier to heat and simultaneously evaporate water having lower salinity. The Typhoons originating in the Pacific ocean too influences the cyclones in Bay of Bengal, not the case in Arabian sea. And also according to IMD cyclones originating in Arabian sea are believed to move northwest. So they actually move away from Indian mainland. The Bay of Bengal also receives high average rainfall helps to intensify the cyclones.

“Cyclones Titli” occurred in November, this region is good for cyclones throughout the year. However, there are two time in the year, when they are at peak the first one is April-May pre-monsoon season and the other is October to December post monsoon season. The post monsoon cyclones are formed far out in the Pacific ocean, then they cross the South Asian landmasses then come towards the Bay of Bengal. By the time they reach there they typically lost lot of intensity. However, the cyclone of pre-monsoon time are formed in the Bay of Bengal and are very intensive.

The longer the storm is at the ocean the more powerful it gets, so the faster is make the landfall better if is for humans.

As per NCRMP (National Cyclone Risk Management Project), India spent nearly 2% of its GDP and 12 % of central government revenue to deal with the cyclones hitting the country’s long coastline. Estimates show that more than 32 crore people or 1/3 of country’s population inhabiting the cyclone prone areas of the country are vulnerable to the hazards related to cyclone. Most affected states are Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu in addition to the UT Pondicherry.

The data collected for the period between 1980 and 2000 reveal that about 370 million people in India are exposed to cyclones in the country. About 308 cyclones struck the coastline of India from 1980 to 2000, while only 48 cyclones on the western coast during this period. Recurring cyclones in the eastern coast cause huge number of deaths, loss of property, damage to infrastructure, loss of livelihood and reversal of developments. The scientific community cautions that the climate change and the resulting rise in sea level can considerably increase the coastal population’s vulnerability to cyclones.

Mitigating factors

  • Early warning systems can be made more robust & error free to provide correct real time data.
  • Any kind of residential colonies or hotels should be avoided near the coastline. Or if already constructed, must be evacuated as early as possible.
  • Every village & city must have a crisis centre with basic amenities, so that people can take shelter at the time cyclones hit.
  • Saving the lives of domesticated animals should also be on the checklist.
  • Every city must have enough channels for the rain water to get away.

With the worsening environmental condition, the nature of cyclones is going to be difficult to predict. Although with the above measures we can prepare ourselves to face the calamity & restrict the damage to the minimum.

Published by Neel Kamal

My name is Neelkamal. Here, I will provide the content effective for everyone who want to learn more and more. And if you want, I am open for your suggestion to write on. I have done M.Sc in Biotechnology and also read about the Political, Social, Environmental issues. So, my blog will surrounds upon topics related to these subjects.

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