Cyclogenesis is the bomb


The Phrase of the Day: Bomb Cyclogenesis

Sounds very terrorism-cyberpunk, doesn't it? Sort-of-luckily for the state of Minnesota, it's actually a meteorological term. I say "sort of" because bomb cyclogenesis will probably work out better for us as a weather phenomenon than it would as a tactic of the android jihad, but it's still not great.

Basically, bomb cyclogenesis is the formation of an over-land cyclone ("cyclogenesis") in a dramatically short period of time ("kablooey"). The phenomenon might be involved in the formation of Atlantic Nor'easters, and was the force behind some of the biggest blizzards of the mid-20th century. In fact, Minnesota Public Radio's Updraft blog is going so far as to call this incoming weather system a "land hurricane" ("telegram"). The Eastern side of Lake Superior is expecting 25-foot waves this afternoon. Should be exciting. And we've all learned a new word.

Image: Taken in Minnesota, but not today. Some rights reserved by MattLaws


  1. I wish I had a bajillion dollars to offer Maggie to be the science teacher at my kid’s school…

    Rock on Maggie! Rock on! This is fascinating!

    Domestic weather has been crazy this year! Brooklyn had a serious tornado and not long afterwards a leaf shredding hail storm.

  2. Weather is pretty dramatic today.. and I’m way down by Chicago.

    Big winds, fascinating cloud patterns, if I had to pick a candidate for crazy weather events, today would be it.

  3. Big waves on Lake Superior are fun to watch. When I lived in Duluth a few years ago, we had a November storm that had 15-20 foot waves crashing on to shore around Duluth. You could hear the roar of the waves at least a mile up the hill where I lived. It also tore up a bunch of lake walk and washed away some pretty sizable boulders as well. I went down to Canal Park to watch, but it was a little hard to look into the onrushing sleet. Still, pretty cool.

    Here’s a NYTimes article too about Duluth surfing:

  4. Extra bonus points to Maggie for making me snarf my drink with that unexpected SNL landshark joke… :)

  5. Maggie, you didn’t hear about the tornado? There was a confirmed tornado and microbursts. The tornado ripped up at least 5 trees on my block alone, hundreds throughout the city. It was nuts. I think they had the bronado video on BB. If not here is the youtube link

    You have made me seriously want to plan a trip to Duluth. (as the song “The Edmond Fitzgerald” plays on a loop through my head).

    btw-have you gone to the Voyageur Historical Site? Is it still there?

  6. I’m afflicted with the same problem as bklynchris, now. Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald is Lightfoot’s stickiest song. I’ll never stop singing it now. Share our pain:

  7. Given that my migraines are triggered by thunderstorms, I can sit here in Pittsburgh dosing myself with meds but consoling myself with the fact that at least this migraine will be caused by “bomb cyclogenesis.” Think I’ll spring that term on my neurologist at my next visit.

  8. They’re referred to as “weather bombs” down here in New Zealand and are a not infrequent feature of our weather. They can generate a frightening amount of wind and precipitation in a very short time.

  9. The informal weather term for ‘bomb cyclogensis’ in the extreme, is Bombogenesis. It’s an occasional feature off the Northeastern US, especially during the fall and winter months.

  10. Aparrently, some smart, science-y type guy from Oklahama said in a Talk of the Town column, in the latest New Yorker said he did not think it was a tornado, sigh, sniff-sniff.

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