What is Bomb Cyclone?

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Bomb cyclone continues to batter US as death toll mounts to 34.

What is Bomb Cyclone?

  • A bomb cyclone is a mid-latitude storm in which the central pressure drops fast at one millibar per hour for at least 24 hours. However, the millibar readings can change based on where the storm is forming.
  • This quickly increases the pressure difference, or gradient, between the two air masses, making the winds stronger. This process of rapid intensification has a name: bombogenesis.
  • As the winds blow, the rotation of the Earth creates a cyclonic effect. The direction is counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere (when viewed from above).
  • Formation:
    • A bomb cyclone is formed when the air of different air masses (cold, dry) comes together.
    • As the warm air rises, it creates a cloud system lowering air pressure and forming into a storm circulating counterclockwise around the low-pressure area.
  • Characteristics:
    • The bomb cyclone will be characterised by cold winds, which are also expected to pick up, and wind chill temperatures could drop to dangerous lows far below zero — enough to cause frostbite within minutes.
    • The dangerous storm is expected to hit everyone east of the Rockies — around two-thirds of the country.


Q1) When was the term bomb cyclone first used?

The first known usage of the term “bomb cyclone,” according to Merriam-Webster, was in 1987—born out of an 1980 research paper in which meteorologists were trying to describe the intensity of non-summer storms.

Source: What is a ‘bomb cyclone’?