Q) Most of the tropical cyclones are confined to the South China Sea, Bay of Bengal and Gulf of Mexico. Explain the reasons and also discuss how tropical cyclones are named across the world. 

Why this question?

Issues of current importance 

Key demand of the Question 

Reasons for tropical cyclones being confined to South China Sea (SCS), Bay of Bengal and Gulf of Mexico and the methodology of naming cyclones.


Discuss- back up the answer by carefully selected evidence to make a case for and against an argument, or point out the advantages and disadvantages of the given context and finally arrive at a conclusion.


Give an overview of cyclones.


In the first part, highlight the reasons for most of the tropical cyclones being confined to SCS, Bay of Bengal and Gulf of Mexico. 

In the next part, explain the methodology used to name tropical cyclones across the world.


Conclude with a way forward.

Model Answer

Tropical cyclones are the violent storms that originate over oceans in the tropical areas and move over to the coastal areas bringing about large-scale destruction that is caused by violent winds, heavy rainfall and storm surges. 

Reasons for more tropical cyclones in the South China Sea, Bay of Bengal and Gulf of Mexico

  • Shallow warm water in tropical areas around The Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ).
  • All are shallow bays surrounded by land on three sides at least leading to more warming.
  • Also, shallow waters have better penetration of sunlight and increased warming.
  • These are areas affected by warm ocean current coming from equatorial regions.

Naming of cyclones across the world

  • The practise of naming the cyclones was started to help in quick identification of storms in warning messages as it is easier to remember names. It commenced over the north Indian Ocean from September 2004.
  • They are named by the regional specialised meteorological centres (RSMCs) and Tropical Cyclone Warning Centres (TCWCs). There are six RSMCs in the world, including the IMD, and five TCWCs.
  • In general, tropical cyclones are named according to the rules at a regional level.
  • The WMO/ESCAP Panel on Tropical Cyclones at its 27th Session in 2000 in Oman agreed in principle to assign names to the tropical cyclones in the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea.
  • Eight countries — India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Maldives, Myanmar, Oman, Sri Lanka and Thailand participated in the panel and came up with a list of 64 names.
  • If the public wants to suggest the name of a cyclone to be included in the list, the proposed name must meet some fundamental criteria.
  • The names are short and readily understood when broadcast.
  • Further, the names must not be culturally sensitive and should not convey any unintended and potentially inflammatory meaning.
  • These countries submit 8 names each that are arranged in an 8x8 table and the subsequent cyclones are named sequentially, column-wise, with each cyclone given the name immediately below that of the previous cyclone. Once the bottom of the column is reached, the sequence moves to the top of the next column.
  • Once the list is exhausted, a fresh list will be generated and the naming will continue.

Cyclones can have an economic and emotional effect on people and property directly affected. Thousands of people have died or been displaced by them. Hundreds of homes could be destroyed causing millions of dollars’ worth of damage. Having a better understanding of cyclones can help you better prepare and perhaps minimise or prevent cyclone damage.