Guide:Tropical cyclone basins

first draft

Earth cyclone committees

Since Kalassak really likes cyclones and is going to figure out where they form and simulate them, either in the Atmosphere Engine or eventually with a weather model, you might be interested in naming those that affect your regions. This will be a guide to creating a realistic cyclone name lists for regions that you're interested in making them for, as well as how to decide who will warn on the cyclones. At the end, you should have a list of members of a TC committee, a warning center or warning centers, and a list of names to be used for tropical cyclones.

Cyclone committees

Pavala cyclone committee ideas

Probably the first step to figuring out cyclone naming, along with figuring out where tropical cyclones form, is figuring out who is affected by them. Countries and territories affected by TCs are generally a part of a TC committee.

But why do we need TC committees?

TC committees will not functionally be that big of a deal in terms of worldbuilding, but they will be a great way to figure out where the names of cyclones will originate.

Ok, so who is a part of a TC committee?

The key is deciding what regions and countries have the potential to be affected by cyclones. Figuring out who is part of a TC committee is pretty easy and can be extremely liberal. For reference, countries like Botswana and Namibia are members of the RA I Tropical Cyclone Committee for the Southwest Indian Ocean on Earth, so inland countries affected by flooding caused by TC remnants are often members of TC committees. Islands owned by colonial powers often show up in regions affected by tropical cyclones, so the colonial powers might also be members of the TC committee on their behalf, for example the US, UK, and France are members of several tropical cyclone committees as a result of their overseas territories. Alternatively, you could just have the territories themselves be one or several members of the committee. However you want to do it.

You don't need to think too hard about this. Just pick a bunch of territories that make sense and make list of them as part of the committee.

Warning centers

We can come up with a good name later, but on Earth, these are called Regional Specialized Meteorological Centers (RSMC). These are the agencies that issue official warnings on tropical cyclones and disturbances that may become them. They also (generally) get to name the cyclones as well. There are some cases, like in the Southwest Indian, where the naming rights are given to Madagascar and Mauritius (other National Meteorological Centers (NMC)) depending on where the cyclone forms, than the RSMC for the basin, La Reunion (France). Not all basins (or committees) have one RSMC responsible for them; the Australian region has five (Perth, Darwin, Brisbane, Jakarta, and Port Moresby) and is part of the RA V Tropical Cyclone Committee along with the agencies in the South Pacific basin.

Maybe the Amalthea Meteorological Collaboration assigns the RSMCs on Pavala or maybe runs like the central cyclone database and stuff and all the RSMCs have to report back to the AMC tropical people, probably in Zeilunavvuk'.

A rundown on warning centers:

  • Each committee can be responsible for multiple basins
  • Each basin may have one or more warning centers
  • Several basins may share one warning center (National Hurricane Center in Miami for EPAC/ATL)
  • Warning centers may have separate name lists or use the same name lists within the same basin

A good idea when deciding on warning centers is to pick a relatively large city in a relatively developed country, in a region usually affected by cyclones. RSMC locations on Earth include: Miami, Honolulu, Tokyo, New Delhi, La Reunion, and Nadi (Fiji). Minor warning centers or centers that share their responsibility within a basin include Perth, Darwin, Brisbane, Jakarta, Port Moresby, and Wellington.

So we'll go through each potential cyclone committee in detail to discuss where warning centers could be:

Házélé TC Committee

This region is split into two different basins: the Uqe Ocean and the Ganuo region. In the Uqe Ocean, there is only one warning center. I haven't decided whether it will be in Auspikitan or Zeilunavvuk'. In the Ganuo region, depending on where the countries are, there could be several different warning centers or just one. If there is just one, it would probably be in a big city in Ganuo. If there are multiple, the basin might be split up into several regions with some warning centers on different islands and maybe one responsible for the Hac Lake region.

Edeto/Lavaank TC Committee

We don't really know much about this area yet. A warning center, if there is just one, would probably be in the Hac islands, Vintu, or a relatively developed coastal country in Edeto. This is a pretty expansive region with relatively little centralization, as such this would likely be one basin, but several warning centers with large warning areas may be possible here.

Ivinis TC Committee

This region is dominated by activity affecting Ivinis. A warning center would probably be located in a developed country there, but it might also be in Nokhta or Unuvei if there is only one warning center, considering that they are major colonial powers in this region and countries in Ivinis probably have good connection and relations with their Delezian colonizers. This area is pretty obviously only one basin, but there may be multiple official warning centers if you want.

North Ivinis/Continent 3 TC Committee

This is another culturally uniform region, probably dominated by Nokhtan and Dotrugan speaking peoples. As such, one warning center is likely, and it may be either someone in Northern Ivinis, Continent 3, or even in Dotruga or Nokhta. The geography here makes a tropical cyclone basin ambiguous though, so there may be two basins: one east of Ivinis, and one in the Continent 3 area, west of Ivinis.

Why have one or multiple cyclone warning centers?

It doesn't really matter, it's just up to personal preference, but it may be a way to explain why one basin has several naming lists (if you want that), but you don't necessarily need to have two warning centers to have two lists, or have multiple lists if you have multiple warning centers. There are examples of both of these on Earth.

Cyclone naming

This is the fun part. Now that you know who will be warning on tropical cyclones and who is affected by them, you can begin creating a TC name list. There are several ways you can go about this, but in general, let your list of committee members guide what the cyclone names are.

Types of name lists


The two general types of name lists are based on time. Name lists can be either continuous or yearly.

Yearly means that naming will begin at the start of the next list every cyclone season no matter how many names are used. Examples of this are the Atlantic, East Pacific, and Southwest Indian lists.

Continuous means that the first name used during a cyclone season is the name following the last name that was used, regardless of how the list is ordered. A list might be alphabetical but if the last name of 19500 was Mingzhu, the first name in 19501 will be Nathan. Every other basin and warning center uses this system.

There is also a third list ordering type used by TCWC Port Moresby, random. Since cyclones do not frequently form in their region, they have a list of about ten names and choose one at random when a cyclone forms. There is no reason this has to be restricted to small lists with infrequent usage, though.

There may be other ways to order your lists as well, you can be creative.


Name lists can be ordered in different ways, regardless of whether they are yearly or continuous.

Alphabetical lists order cyclone names in the order of the alphabet of the region that the cyclones affect. If you wanted to implement this using your writing system, you could also adapt it to use a syllabary or maybe even ideographs.

Country-based lists order cyclone names based on the country (or territory, or region) that contributed the name, usually alphabetically based on the country. For example, the first name might be Onil (contributed by Bangladesh), and the next name would be Agni (contributed by India), Hibaru (Maldives), Pyarr (Myanmar), etc. This is used in the West Pacific and the North Indian. You could also have names be contributed and ordered by language of origin or something. The Uqe Ocean list is ordered like this, by linguistic family.

Generally cyclone names (when human names are involved) are given equal weight, either by alternating masculine and feminine names, or by just providing them in roughly equal quantities.

You can combine these methods in different ways. For example, you could have an even number of names contributed by each member of the committee, but order the names alphabetically.

If you can think of any other ways to structure your name lists, go for it. For example, maybe names in your region have two parts and you want to have 12 prefixes and 11 suffixes and cycle through, combining the next prefix and suffix each time, or maybe something entirely different.

Types of names


Cyclone names in your list will originate from people or things that are culturally significant to the places affected by tropical cyclones, but they can do this in different ways. They could originate homogeneously, such that there is no order or structure to where they come from. Usually though, they follow roughly who is affected. If most people affected by the cyclones speak Unuvi, then most of the names might be Unuvi. If only 1% of people in the region speak Ganuoan, then you might have one or two (or no) names of Ganuo origin.


The most common type of cyclone name is that of the names of people. Cyclones may just be named with the same names people are. Alternatively, you might pick for the whole list (or for a particular contributing country) a specific theme with which to name cyclones.

For just a few ideas:

  • the entire cyclone list used by TCWC Jakarta is just Indonesian words for flowers (Bakung, Cempaka, Dahlia)
  • Japan's contributed typhoon names are the names of IAU constellations in Japanese (Hato - Columba, the dove)
  • Micronesia contributes important mythological/historical figures and places (Nan Madol, Soudelor)

Your committee might decide that cyclone names all have to follow a certain convention (human names, flowers, negative adjectives, etc), or it might not matter at all.


Generally, storms are retired based on their impact and whether a cyclone was requested by a committee member to be retired. Some names, in the Atlantic for example, go unretired even after significant damage and/or loss of life because the member just doesn't submit it for retirement. It is also possible that a name is just retired after it is used once, like in the Southwest Indian.

Your committee should decide how replacements work so that if Kalassak wants to do simulations she can decide how to retire names.

Here is a table comparing Earth's cyclone name lists and their properties:

Basin Time Order Name origins Name type Retirement
Atlantic Yearly (6 lists) alphabetical A-Z minus QUXYZ, alternates male/female each name & each year Homogeneously selected from cultures affected. Predominantly English, some Spanish and French. Names of people based on impact
East Pacific Yearly (6 lists) alphabetical A-Z minus QU, alternates male/female each name & each year Homogeneously selected from cultures affected. Predominantly English and Spanish (many can be either). Names of people based on impact
Central Pacific Continuous Hawaiian alphabet (4 lists) Hawaiian Names of people and maybe some words? based on impact
West Pacific Continuous based on contributing country, no alphabetization Ten names are contributed by each member of the committee and ordered alphabetically by the country's name Names may be of people, but often have cultural significance or are words relating to nature or the storms themselves, countries are usually internally consistent based on impact
North Indian Continuous based on contributing country, no alphabetization Eight names are contributed by each member of the committee and ordered alphabetically by the country's name based on impact
Southwest Indian Yearly Alphabetical A-Z (3 lists) Names are contributed by all members of the committee, but ordered alphabetically by each name Names of people all used names
Australian Continuous Alphabetical but with some letters merged Australian (English, European migrant, Asian, Aboriginal) Names of people based on impact
Jakarta Continuous Alphabetical (not all letters used) Indonesian Flowers based on impact
Port Moresby Continuous Alphabetical Papuan based on impact?
South Pacific Continuous Alphabetical Names of people? based on impact