Cyclone Tauktae a deep Analysis for Prelims and Mains

Cyclone Tauktae, originally classified as a severe cyclonic storm, has weakened slightly into a cyclonic storm. The cyclone wreaked havoc in five Indian states including Gujarat and Maharashtra in the past two days. It is a tropical storm that is currently over West India, will gradually weaken before dissipating completely. It has ravaged parts of India for the past few days.

What is a cyclone and how does it form?

A low-pressure area over the Arabian Sea first concentrated into a depression and later intensified into a cyclonic storm named ‘Cyclone Tauktae’. The West Coast of India has been affected by the cyclone. It is the first cyclone of 2021.

What kind of a cyclone is Tauktae?

It is a tropical cyclone, termed as ‘Extreme Severe Cyclonic Storm’ (ESCS) and ‘Very Severe Cyclonic Storm’ (VSCS)

What is the meaning of the name ‘Tauktae’?     

It means ‘Gecko’ (in Burmese Language) which is a highly vocal lizard

Which country has given the name ‘Tauktae’?  

Myanmar has named this cyclone ‘Tauktae’.

How are cyclones named?

13 countries of the World Meteorological Organization/United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (WMO/ESCAP) Panel on Tropical Cyclones (PTC) name the cyclones


The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said in its latest update on the cyclone that a low pressure area had formed in the south eastern Arabian Sea close to Lakshadweep on the morning of May 13.


The depression lies 360 kilometres west-south west of Kannur in Kerala, is likely to intensify into a deep depression by the evening of May 14 and a cyclone by the morning of May 15.

  • IMD has forecast that the track of the cyclone will take it in the north-north eastward direction till the evening of May 14 and in a north north-westward direction after that, towards the Gujarat coast.


  • The weather agency has predicted that the cyclone might intensify into a severe cyclone by the evening of May 15 and into a very severe cyclone with wind speeds in excess of 160 km per hour by the evening of May 16.
  • On May 13, the IMD had forecasted the formation of the cyclone on May 16.
  • The cyclone is expected to reach the Gujarat coast by the morning of May 18.


  • This cyclonic scenario is changing in a quick and uncertain way due to the unusual warming of the Arabian Sea.
  • This could be a consequence of global warming resulting from the emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities. 
  • The frequency and intensity of cyclones in the Arabian Sea have increased in recent years.
  • This is because of the rapid warming that has made the relatively cooler Arabian Sea (compared to the Bay of Bengal) a warm pool region that can actively support cyclone formation.


  • Global Forecasting System data from the United States’ National Centers for Environmental Prediction, shows that a depression has already formed and that Cyclone Tauktae might form by the evening of May 14.
  • This would be much ahead of the timeline forecasted by IMD, indicative of rapid intensification and putting in imminent danger, the western coastal states of India.
  • IBM’s The Weather Channel reported that the cyclone formation might happen Friday (May 14) or Saturday (May 15), much ahead of IMD’s current May 16.

IMD’s current prediction for the track of the cyclone is in a north-north westward direction from its current position towards the Gujarat and Pakistan coasts. 

  • The agency said the cyclone might strengthen further and reach the Gujarat coast by the evening of May 18.
  • Many of the weather models predict that the track of the cyclone will be really close to the coast which means that coastal areas of Kerala, Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra will experience heavy rainfall beginning May 14.


  • Scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Princeton University in the United States and the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom analyzed 90 peer-reviewed articles.
  • They tried to understand the impact of a changing climate on tropical cyclones — a combined name used for hurricanes, cyclones, and typhoons.

They concluded that there could be a five per cent increase in maximum cyclonic wind speeds if the world warms by two degrees celsius by 2100. 


  • Cyclones are now intensifying rapidly since warm ocean waters act as fuel for them.
  • Extremely severe cyclones like Fani and Amphan intensified from a weak to severe status in less than 24 hours due to warm ocean conditions.
  • State-of-the-art cyclone models are unable to pick this rapid intensification because they do not incorporate the ocean dynamics accurately.

Rapid intensification happens when there is an increase of maximum sustained winds of a cyclone by at least 55 kilometre per hour within 24 hours.

  • Cyclone Tauktae also was developed into a low-pressure system earlier than forecasted. As of now, it is forecasted to develop into a cyclone by May 16.
  • Given that the ocean and atmospheric conditions are now favorable, chances of early cyclone formation and rapid intensification cannot be ruled out.
  • Two highly populated megapolises of south Asia, Mumbai and Karachi will be on the path of the cyclone over the weekend.

Is the Arabian Sea becoming cyclone-friendly?

  • Annually, five cyclones on average form in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea combined.
  • Of these, four developments in the Bay of Bengal, which is warmer than the Arabian Sea.
  • In the Arabian Sea, cyclones typically develop over the Lakshadweep area and largely traverse westwards, or away from India’s west coast.
  • However, in recent years, meteorologists have observed that the Arabian Sea, too, has been warming. This is a phenomenon associated with global warming.

Not a rare phenomenon

Typically, tropical cyclones in the North Indian Ocean region (the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea) develop during the pre-monsoon and post-monsoon (October to December) periods.

May-June and October-November are known to produce cyclones of severe intensity that affect the Indian coasts.

What will be the name of the next cyclone?

The next cyclone will be called ‘Yaas’, a name was given by Oman. After that, cyclone ‘Gulab’ will make landfall in the region. Pakistan has suggested cyclone Gulab’s name. As per the IMD, the cyclones that are likely to hit the region in the coming months include Shaheen (the name given by Qatar), Jawad (the name given by Saudi Arabia), Asani (a name suggested by Sri Lanka), Sitrang (a name suggested by Thailand), Mandous (a name suggested by UAE), and Mocha (a name suggested by Yemen).

For solved

UPSC ESSAYS click here

GS Paper 1 click here

Gs Paper 2 click here

Gs paper 3 click here

GS paper 4 click here

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