Pacific Ocean Current Affairs - 2020

Challenger Deep

The Astronaut and Oceanographer Kathy Sullivan recently reached the deepest point in the ocean, Challenger Deep. With this she has become the first woman to reach the deepest point in the earth.

Highlights

In 1984, Kathy made her space walk debut and became the first woman to walk in space. Now by reaching Challenger Deep she has created a new record of first person in the world to walk in space and also reach the deepest point on the earth. She is also the first woman to reach the deepest point in the ocean.

Challenger Deep

Challenger Deep is the deepest point in the Earth’s sea bed. It is at a depth of 10,902 metres. It is named after the British Royal Navy survey Ship HMS Challenger that recorded its depth for the first time.

Lieutenant Don Walsh and Swiss scientist Jacques Piccard were the first to dive into Challenger Deep in 1960. In 2012, the Titanic director James Cameron was the first to complete his solo submarine dive to the spot.

Challenger Deep is located in the Western Pacific Ocean in the southern end of Mariana Trench. It is in the ocean territory of Federated States of Micronesia.

Micronesia

Micronesia is a sub region of Oceania. It is made of 1000s of small islands. It has a tropical marine climate. There are 4 main archipelagos in the sub region. They are Caroline Islands, Mariana Islands, Gilbert Islands and Marshall Islands. The Mariana Trench is located in the Mariana Islands.

Rapid Intensification made AMPHAN a Super Cyclone

The Cyclone ‘Amphan’ has intensified from a severe cyclonic storm to a Super Cyclone. This has happened in less than 40 hours.

Highlights

The rapid intensification of Amphan into a Super Cyclone is mainly because of rapid warming up of Bay of Bengal. The following are the main reasons that led to rapid intensification of the cyclone

  • High Sea Surface Temperature
  • Enough Moisture in the middle layers of the atmosphere
  • Low Vertical Shear Winds

When does Rapid Intensification occur?

Rapid Intensification of a cyclone occurs when there is increase of sustained winds that blow at a speed of 55 km/hr. Rapid Intensification is common in case of hurricanes, so far not in case of cyclones.

Difference between hurricanes and cyclones

Both hurricanes and cyclones are tropical cyclones. They are named differently based on their region of formation. Cyclones are formed in South Pacific and Indian Oceans. On the other hand, hurricanes are formed in North Atlantic, Eastern and Central Pacific Oceans.

History

Scientists believe that Rapid Intensification might become common among the cyclones in the future. Earlier, Rapid Intensification was observed in cyclone Vayu. However, the main issue is that there is lack of data about rapid intensification rates of cyclone in India.

The two other major Super Cyclones that hit India were Cyclone Gonu in 2007 and Cyclone Kyarr in 2019.