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Geospatial Opinion on Unusual Locust Swarm Invasions during Amphan Cyclone

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Document pages: 18 pages

Abstract: The desert locust, Schistocerca gregaria Forsk. (Orthoptera: Acrididae) is a peculiar insect that exhibits density-dependent phase polyphenism. Gregarious phase enables desert locust to form a large groups and mass migrations during which significant crop loss and food security issues may occur. Currently, the most recent upsurge of desert locust is prevailing across Eastern Africa and Southwestern Asia. Usually desert locusts are restricted to regions like semi-arid and arid regions. A super cyclonic storm, namely Amphan originated during May 2020, in the Bay of Bengal of North Indian Ocean has influenced numerous swarms to migrate from the Thar desert region to other parts of India. In this research, satellite data were used to investigate the reasons for this sudden swarm migration. The results that revealed the wind jets passing above the Thar desert region have integrated with the cyclogenesis of Amphan and led to the formation of conduits. The favorable conditions in the conduits include the open sky conditions, air temperature and fresh vegetation availability. Moreover, the wind settings in the conduits have enabled the swarm migrate to follow the downwind facing the sunrays during early mornings for an easy and successful take-off. It is observed that during the take-off session the wind speed at 850 hPa pressure level is mostly double than that of surface wind in both the conduits.

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