Watch: What is 'Bomb cyclone'?

Reuters
New York, NY, United States Updated: Jan 05, 2018, 10:38 AM(IST)

A powerful winter storm in which a weather system experiences a sharp drop in atmospheric pressure and intensifies rapidly, unleashing hurricane-force winds called 'Bomb cyclone'. Photograph:( WION )

Several bomb cyclones have made headlines in recent years and the latest one which hit northeast United States has thrown normal life out of gear.

Bombogenesis or 'Bomb cyclone' is a popular term that describes a mid-latitude cyclone that intensifies rapidly. It is a powerful winter storm in which a weather system experiences a sharp drop in atmospheric pressure and intensifies rapidly, unleashing hurricane-force winds.

The technical term is 'Explosive cyclogenesis' or 'Bombogenesis'. Bomb cyclone is a shorter way of saying it which comes from combining "bomb" with "cyclogenesis".

According to the US-based National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) 'Bomb cyclone' occurs when a mid-latitude cyclone rapidly intensifies, dropping at least 24 millibars over 24 hours.

A millibar is a unit of pressure that measures the weight of the atmosphere overhead. Sea-level pressure is about 1,010 millibars.

This can happen when a cold air mass collides with a warm air mass, such as air over warm ocean waters. The formation of this rapidly strengthening weather system is a process called bombogenesis, which creates what is known as a bomb cyclone.

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