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Bomb Cyclone

Published: 7th Feb, 2022


The US East Coast is bracing itself for a “bomb cyclone” that is on course to barrel in from the mid-Atlantic.


What is Bomb Cyclone?

  • A bomb cyclone is a winter cyclone. It occurs through the process known as bombogenesis.
    • The word “bombogenesis” is a combination of cyclogenesis which describes the formation of a cyclone or storm and bomb, which is self-explanatory.
  • A bomb cyclone occurs when a mid-latitude cyclone rapidly intensifies or quickly drops in atmospheric pressure, marking the strengthening of the storm.
  • It occurs when a storm’s central barometric pressure drops at least 24 millibars in 24 hours. 
    • A millibar is a way of measuring pressure. The lower the pressure, the more powerful the storm.
  • Some storms have intensified as rapidly as 60 millibars in 24 hours. A few bomb cyclones even develop “eyes,” similar to the centre of a hurricane.

In which region does a Bomb Cyclone occur?

  • There are four active regions which are hot spots for Bomb Cyclone
    • The Northwest Pacific
    • The Northern region of the Atlantic Ocean
    • The Southwest Pacific
    • The Southern region of the Atlantic Ocean.

How is Bomb Cyclone different from Hurricanes?

  • It essentially amounts to a rapidly developing storm system, distinct from a tropical hurricane because it occurs over mid latitudes 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.

Verifying, please be patient.

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