Why did the deadly cyclone that left a trail of death and destruction in Myanmar have a delicate name like 'Nargis'? Pakistan may have an answer.
The name 'Nargis' means daffodil in Urdu for the cyclone was suggested by Pakistan to the India Meteorological Department, which is a Regional Specialised Meteorological Center recognised by the World Meteorological Organisation, IMD Director B P Yadav told PTI.
IMD has the mandate to provide weather advisories to seven countries -- Bangladesh, the Maldives, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Thailand and Sri Lanka besides India.
It also asks these countries to suggest names for the cyclones, which are then listed in an alphabetical order of the names of the member countries, he said.
The next cyclone will be Abe, as suggested by Sri Lanka followed by Khai-Muk (Thailand). The last six cyclones were Ogni (named by Bangladesh), Akash (India), Gonu (Maldives), Yemyin (Myanmar), Sidr (Oman), and Nargis (Pakistan).
The main north Indian Ocean tropical season runs from May to November and Nargis was the first this season.
The convention of naming cyclones dates back to the early 20th century when an Australian forecaster named major storms after politicians he disliked.
While the US weather office started giving names to cyclones in 1953, the trend began in the sub-continent in 2004.
The names also enable forecasters to eliminate confusion over multiple systems active in any individual basin at the same time, Yadav said.
Each year, the names of particularly destructive storms are retired and new names are chosen to take their place.