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Sundarbans is cyclone capital of India: IMD

Published: 31st Jan, 2022


West Bengal’s South 24 Parganas district, within which the larger share of the Sundarbans is located, is impacted by cyclones the most frequently among Indian districts, found a recent study.


About Sundarbans

  • The Sunderbans forest sprawls over 10,000 sq km covering India and neighbouring Bangladesh, of which 40% lies in India.
  • It is located in the south-west of Bangladesh between the river Baleswar in the East and the Harinbanga in the West, adjoining to the Bay of Bengal.
    • In India, it is confined to the southern tip of West Bengal and spreads over two districts – South 24 Parganas and North 24 Parganas.
  • The Sundarban Delta has 102 islands, of which 54 are inhabited. The rest constitute the world’s largest mangrove forest.
  • Sundarbans has got the world’s largest coastal mangrove forest (an area of about 10,000 km2, shared between India (4,000 km2) and Bangladesh (6,000 km2).
  • The Sundarbans is a UNESCO world heritage site and a critical wetland. 

The reduced forest cover

  • The State of Forest Report 2021 revealed that the very dense mangrove cover in the Sunderbans shrank by two square kilometres – from 996 sq km to 994 sq km - between 2019 and 2021.
  • The delta had a dense mangrove cover of 999 sq km in 2017, which declined by 3 sq km in 2019.
    • The southern Bengal delta was hit by two very severe cyclones – Amphan in May 2020 and Yaas in May 2021 – which took a toll on the vegetation. Nearly one-third of the delta was severely damaged during Amphan.

Tropical Cyclone

  • A tropical cyclone is a rapidly rotating storm system.
  • It is characterized by a low-pressure centre, a closed low-level atmospheric circulation, strong winds, and a spiral arrangement of thunderstorms that produce heavy rain or squalls. 
  • The Indian continent is considered to be the worst cyclone-affected part of the world.
    • About 8% of the land is vulnerable to cyclones of which coastal areas experience two or three tropical cyclones in a year.
  • Depending on its location and strength, a tropical cyclone is referred to by different names, including hurricane, typhoon, tropical storm, cyclonic storm, tropical depression, and simply cyclone.
    • Hurricane: Atlantic Ocean
    • Typhoon: North-western Pacific Ocean
    • Tropical cyclones: South Pacific or the Indian Ocean

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