Comparison between the active tropical cyclone seasons over the Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal

Abdus M. Sattar, Kevin K. W. Cheung*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    7 Citations (Scopus)


    Climatologically, tropical cyclone (TC) activity in the North Indian Ocean (NIO) is asymmetric between the Arabian Sea (AS) and Bay of Bengal (BoB) basin. For the 172 TCs formed over NIO during 1983–2015, only 56 formed over AS and the rest (116) over BoB. During the period, AS was very active in a few years (but with quiet BoB season), and the opposite occurred in some others. It is found that this contrast occurred mostly during the post-monsoon season of October–December. The meteorological and climate factors that accounted for these contrasting AS and BoB TC seasons are analysed. While climate variability such as the El Niño Southern Oscillation and Indian Ocean Dipole have known influences to NIO TC activity, results reveal that no single climate mode can well explain the TC development concentrating on AS or BoB only. Instead, it is found that variability of the northeast monsoon is an important factor responsible for the difference between the two basins. Excess moisture is available over the AS due to anomalous low-level flow from the equatorial IO in the years in which there are more TCs in that basin, and dryer condition is over the BoB. In these years, there is likely excess northeast monsoon rainfall. The relationship is opposite between post-monsoon BoB TC activity and the northeast monsoon. Nevertheless, the anomalous flow during active AS TC seasons is similar to that occurs during positive Indian Ocean Dipole, and thus this climate variability may be responsible for redistributing the moisture content in the NIO.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)5486-5502
    Number of pages17
    JournalInternational Journal of Climatology
    Issue number14
    Early online date22 May 2019
    Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2019


    • tropics
    • monsoon
    • severe weather
    • climate
    • observational data analysis
    • statistical methods

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