KOLKATA, 24 MAY: With frequency of storms likely to rise in north Bay of Bengal, it seems nature has been conspiring against the people in Sunderbans already left homeless and hungry by Aila last year. The breaches in the embankments continue to scare inhabitants, who have lost their rice fields to saline water, and NREGA wages keep eluding them. They know that another Aila-like storm can wipe them off the islands.
A 100-year analysis of Bay of Bengal cyclones shows that 23 cyclones have struck 24 Parganas ~ the highest number of cyclones in that period among any other site on India’s east coast.
According to Dr K. Krishna Kumar, monsoon variability and predictability programme manager of the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune, “some changes are taking place in the monsoon rainfall character such as increase in the frequency and intensity of heavy rainfall at the expense of low rainfall, a substantial decline in monsoon depressions and increase in low-pressure systems.” Due to climate change, no significant change will be there in the frequency of cyclonic storms/monsoon depressions but the intensity of storms is likely to be higher by 10 per cent in the future, added Dr Krishna Kumar.
A report by Mr OP Singh, Mr Tariq Khan and Md. Sazedur Rahman of SAARC Meteorological Research Centre, Bangladesh, states that there has been a two-fold increase in the tropical cyclone frequency over the Bay of Bengal during November in the past 122 years. There has been a 17 per cent increase in the intensification rate of cyclonic disturbances to the cyclone stage, and a 25 per cent increase to severe cyclone stage over the north Indian Ocean during November, which accounts for the highest monthly average of severe cyclone frequency. The increasing trend in the cyclone frequency during May is also highly significant but the intensification rates to cyclone and severe cyclone stages have registered only slight increasing tendencies. The cyclonic frequencies during transitional monsoon months, June and September, have diminished considerably. “With the sea level rising, and frequency of cyclones increasing ~ and more often than not they work in tandem ~ there would be more vicious tidal surges and destruction by 2020,” said Sugato Hazra, head of the oceanographic studies department, JU.