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Cloudbursts

Published: 17th Aug, 2023

Context

Cloudbursts are a common occurrence in Himalayan regions but experts are alarmed by the increase in extreme weather-related events.

What is Cloudburst?

  • A cloudburst is defined as an intense downpour that lasts only a brief time and is occasionally accompanied by hail and thunder.
  • It is defined by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) as unexpected precipitation that exceeds 100mm (or 10 cm) per hour across a region of land that is between 20 and 30 square kilometres.
  • It occurs in high-altitude regions due to the formation of low-pressure areas (LPAs).

LPAs form under areas of wind divergence that occur in upper levels of the troposphere.

  • LPAs accumulate clouds with great force on the top of mountains and result in orographic precipitation.
  • Phenomenon: The phenomenon that is responsible for this is ‘orographic lift’, a process by which clouds that are already to rain are pushed up by warm air currents.
    • As they reach higher elevations, the water droplets within the clouds become bigger and new ones are formed.

A doppler-radar system is ideal for predicting the calamity 

  • These dense clouds eventually burst, unable to hold the large volume of moisture.
  • This results in torrential downpours in the region right below and leads to overflowing of water bodies in a very short duration of time.

Verifying, please be patient.

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