Suryakant Jena

A fresh cyclone named Asani has formed over Southeast Bay of Bengal triggering concerns for coastal Odisha and Andhra. However, the IMD’s forecast of the system’s probable track and intensity has given a huge relief as it suggests that the storm will not make landfall in Odisha.

But amid this emerging situation, one question that comes to the minds of the readers is the name ‘Asani’, another name in the list of Indian Ocean Cyclones that have already seen ones like Amphan, Fani and Titli.

Get Live Updates on Cyclone Asani

What is Asani?

Notably, Asani is this year’s first cyclone and its name has been recommended by Sri Lanka where in Sinhala, its official language, it translates to 'wrath.'

Who names cyclones?

The naming of cyclones used to be an arbitrary affair, but in 2000, World Meteorological Organisation decided to use a common system in recognising cyclones over the North Indian Ocean using a list of names suggested by the countries surrounding the ocean basin.

There are a total of six regional specialised meteorological centres (RSMCs) and five regional Tropical Cyclone Warning Centres (TCWCs) across the world who monitor weather and climate activities like cyclogenesis, issue advisories and name cyclones.

India’s Regional Specialized Meteorological Centre (RSMC) under the IMD provides such advisories to 13 countries in the north Indian Ocean basin: Bangladesh, India, Iran, Maldives, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

RSMC, New Delhi, therefore, is responsible for naming cyclones over the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea based on the suggested names from all these countries.

How are cyclones named?

There are several criteria for naming cyclones but some of the most important points considered before are names should be politically and culturally neutral. The maximum permissible length of the cyclone names is eight letters.

In 2020, a new list of cyclone names (listed above) was issued by IMD, following WMO guidelines. After Asani, the next cyclone in the Indian Ocean basin will be named Sitrang which has been suggested by Thailand. It will be followed by Mandous which has been named by United Arab Emirates.

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