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About a Bomb Cyclone

Explosive cyclogenesis (also referred to as a weather bomb, meteorological bomb, explosive development, bomb cyclone or bombogenesis is the rapid deepening of an extratropical cyclonic low-pressure area. The change in pressure needed to classify something as explosive cyclogenesis is latitude dependent. For example, at 60° latitude, explosive cyclogenesis occurs if the central pressure decreases by 24 mbar(hPa) or more in 24 hours. This is a predominantly maritime, winter event, but also occurs in continental settings even in the summer. This process is the extratropical equivalent of the tropical rapid deepening. Although their cyclogenesis is totally different from that of tropical cyclones, bombs can produce winds of the same order as the first categories of the Saffir-Simpson scale and give heavy rainfall. Even though only a minority of the bombs become so strong, some have caused significant damage.

The four most active regions where extratropical explosive cyclogenesis occurs in the world are the Northwest Pacific, the North Atlantic, the Southwest Pacific, and the South Atlantic.

In the Northern Hemisphere the maximum frequency of explosively deepening cyclones is found within or to the north of the Atlantic Gulf Stream and Kuroshio Current in the western Pacific, and in the Southern Hemisphere it is found with Australian east coast lows above the East Australian Current, which shows the importance of air-sea interaction in initiating and rapidly developing extratropical cyclones.

Explosively deepening cyclones south of 50°S often show equator-ward movement, in contrast with the poleward motion of most Northern Hemisphere bombs. Over the year, 45 cyclones on average in the Northern Hemisphere and 26 in the Southern Hemisphere develop explosively, mostly in the respective hemisphere's winter time. Less seasonality has been noticed in bomb cyclogenesis occurrences in the Southern Hemisphere.


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