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What Is A Bomb Cyclone?


Recently Arare bomb cyclone occurred as a massive winter storm wallops most of the central and eastern U.S. with heavy snow, high winds and dangerous wind chill temperatures, affecting millions of Americans in its path.


GS I: Geography

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is a bomb cyclone?
  2. Effects of a bomb cyclone
  3. When do bomb cyclones most often occur?

What is a bomb cyclone?

  • A bomb cyclone, also known as bombogenesis, is a fast-developing storm that occurs when atmospheric pressure drops at least 24 millibars over a 24-hour period. 
  • This can happen when a cold air mass collides with a warm air mass, such as air over warm ocean waters.
Why is it called a bomb cyclone?
  • The popular term was first used around the 1940s, according to Mike Bettes, a meteorologist for The Weather Channel.
  • It’s called a bomb cyclone because a low pressure (or cyclone) undergoes ‘bombogenesis,’ which refers to the quick rate at which the low pressure develops.

Effects of a bomb cyclone

  • The hazards of a bomb cyclone can be multifaceted and vary based on the location and speed of the storm.
  • The band of intense pressure can create heavy winds, blizzard conditions — heavy snow that can possibly reduce visibility — and rainfall, according to the agency.
    • Heavy precipitation can also cause coastal flooding.
  • In the winter, you can experience intense snowfall as well as extreme winds.
  • It usually leads to very hazardous travel conditions with blowing and drifting snow and poor visibility.
  • Airlines will often cancel flights as the conditions are too risky to fly. High winds can often lead to widespread power outages. 
  • The mix of frigid temperatures with strong winds can create dangerous wind chills, increasing the risk of frostbite.
    • There can also be sharp temperature drops along the frontal boundary associated with some bomb cyclones. There can also be storms along the frontal boundary in the warm sector of the storm.

When do bomb cyclones most often occur?

  • While bomb cyclones can happen at any point of the year, they tend to be more frequently reported in the winter months.
  • They are most common from December to early March, according to a 2017 study from the Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology which analyzed the patterns of bomb cyclones over the northern Pacific Ocean from 2000 to 2015.
  • Bomb cyclones often occur more during the cold season. 

-Source: Indian Express

December 2023