Tens of thousands of people were evacuated as Severe Cyclone Tauktae made landfall on India’s western coast. Before it made landfall in Gujarat, India, Tauktae caused widespread damage to regions in its path. Visuals from Twitter show the intensity of the cyclone as high tidal waves slammed Mumbai’s seafront and trees got uprooted.

Cyclone Tauktae and Climate Change 

With the increase in global warming, intense cyclones, previously less common are becoming a norm for South Asia. Exactly a year ago, Super Cyclone Amphan ravaged coastal Bangladesh and West Bengal. 

The fact that cyclones are increasing due to climate change is backed by a record that Cyclone Tauktae has created. Since satellite records began in India in 1980, this is the first time that pre-monsoon cyclones have been recorded in the Arabian Sea for four consecutive years. It is now a well known fact that the global ocean has absorbed 90% of the excess heat generated by greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions since 1970. This has led to anomalous ocean warming, which in turn makes cyclones intensify rapidly.

India having to handle a global health pandemic AND prepare for intense cyclones is not the future (or the present) we want.

A coronavirus vaccination center in Mumbai, India, with part of its entrance hallway blown away by strong cyclone winds on May 17.
Photo: CNN

In Mumbai, India’s financial capital, patients had to be transferred to nearby hospitals from covid care centres at risk from the cyclone. Cyclone Tauktae couldn’t have come at a worse time for India, which is already grappling with a devastating second wave of the coronavirus that has left hospitals filled to capacity and people unable to access oxygen. More than 266,207 people have already died from the virus and vaccinations had to be paused in Mumbai and Gujarat.