Biparjoy: What’s in the name

Published June 14, 2023
People enjoy high tides splashing on the sea front at a beach before the due onset of cyclone Biparjoy, in Karachi on June 13. — AFP
People enjoy high tides splashing on the sea front at a beach before the due onset of cyclone Biparjoy, in Karachi on June 13. — AFP

AS 10-day-old Cyclone Biparjoy moves at a furious pace towards coastal areas of Sindh and Indian Gujarat, its unique name has piqued curiosity about the mechanism surrounding the nomenclature of these storms. The name of the cyclone comes from Bengali, and means ‘disaster’.

According to the World Meteorological Organisation, storms are given names to avoid confusion and help in the quick identification in warning messages.

These are taken from a rotating list of names, maintained by the WMO, which are appropriate for each Tropical Cyclone basin. Each cyclone is named by a regional specialised centre — in the case of the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, it is the Regional Specialised Meteorological Centre based in New Delhi.

“The naming of the tropical cyclones over the north Indian Ocean commenced from September 2004, with names provided by eight members,” the WMO said. Similarly, Biparjoy got its name from the list provided by the members of this regional panel on cyclones.

The 13-member panel has proposed 13 names each for cyclones and if a cyclone is particularly deadly then the name is replaced by another one, the WMO said.

For example, some of the names provided by Pakistan include ‘Gulab’, ‘Afshan’, ‘Sahab’, ‘Manahil’, ‘Parwaz’, and ‘Asna’. On the other hand, India has proposed ‘Aag’ and ‘Jhar’ while Bangladesh’s name repository with the panel includes ‘Barshon’ and ‘Urmi’ among other names.

Published in Dawn, June 14th, 2023

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