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!


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.


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.


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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