A crane lifts a boat to safety ahead of the cyclone at Madh village
MUMBAI: If Nisarga turns into a severe cyclone on Wednesday as IMD has forecast, it will be the first time since 1908 for two severe cyclones to affect the Arabian Sea in consecutive years in June.
Cyclone Vayu, graded very severe, had formed over southeast Arabian Sea and adjoining Lakshadweep on June 9 last year.
Two consecutive severe cyclones had been recorded in June 1902 and 1903 in the Arabian Sea. Again, two severe cyclones had occurred in June 1907 and 1908. After a gap of over 100 years, Vayu and now Nisarga could join this list.
Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, director general of meteorology, IMD, told TOI that cyclones crossing the Maharashtra coast is a rare phenomenon. Since 1891, only three severe cyclones as per the records have done so.
“Climatologically, five cyclones develop over the North Indian Ocean annually, including the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea in a year. The normal is four over Bay of Bengal and one over Arabian Sea. Cyclones over the Arabian Sea are rare. The one cyclone that normally forms over Arabian Sea normally moves either towards Gujarat or Oman,” Mohapatra said. However, in 2019, eight cyclones were recorded in the Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal.
Studies show that intense cyclones have been increasing over the Arabian Sea since the 1990s, he added. “People have been trying to find out whether it is a result of climate change but there is low confidence to attribute it to the phenomenon. More studies would be needed to find out specific reasons for the increase,” Mohapatra said.