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How Do Cyclones Get Named?

- 3 min read By Preetham Parvatam

03 May, 2019

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As a branding agency, we talk a lot about how brands and companies are named, the thought process and research that goes behind devising a name for a brand, the legalities involved in obtaining an available trademark and so on.

But today, we thought we would talk about a topic which is slightly different from the usual brand naming, but still related somewhat in terms of process i.e., the naming of cyclones.We must have all wondered at least once in our lives how cyclones and tropical storms get their names. Gaja, Titli, Sandy, Fani… the list is endless!

Why are they named?

Well to answer this question, the practice of naming tropical storms began years ago mainly to provide a quick and error-free identification of cyclones in warning messages and to make it easier for the media, as otherwise they would have to mention the latitude, longitude and other technical terms each time for identification, especially if concurrent storms occur in the same basin. It has also been seen that use of names increases interest in the warnings and also prepares communities better.

In the past

Initially, cyclones were named after the places where they caused the most damage. The practice of using feminine names for tropical storms like Katherine, Edna, Irene and Jill began only in the mid-1900’s. Later, to make the process more organized, meteorologists started using names selected from a list which was arranged alphabetically and accepted internationally.

What is the process?

The process of naming cyclones is conducted by regional bodies known as Tropical Cyclone Regional Body under the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Presently, there are 5 regional bodies representing the five oceans. They each follow a well-defined process every year or twice a year to come up with a list of tropical cyclone names which originate in their respective ocean basin (much like we do to select the name of a brand!). The names are usually proposed and decided by the members of these bodies and the WMO has laid down a rule that the selected tropical cyclone names have to be familiar to the people in that region.

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In conclusion, storms and cyclones are given distinct names to avoid confusion and streamline communications. Similar to how we name brands so that they can be identified from among other brands and communications can be developed around who they are and what they provide – their story, their ethos, their value and their importance. Both follow specific procedures into which a lot of thought is put in.

We hope you enjoyed this bit of general knowledge for today!

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