What is bombogenesis?

Bombogenesis is a popular term that describes a midlatitude cyclone that rapidly intensifies.

Environmental Visualization Laboratory visualization of wind speed data

Fourteen of 20 hurricane-force wind events underwent bombogenesis in the North Atlantic during the first two months of 2014. This unusual activity can be seen in wind speed data from the period. In this image, blues indicate areas with wind speeds that are faster than the 30-year historical average (1981-2010).

Bombogenesis, a popular term used by meteorologists, occurs when a midlatitude cyclone rapidly intensifies, dropping at least 24 millibars over 24 hours. A millibar measures atmospheric pressure. This can happen when a cold air mass collides with a warm air mass, such as air over warm ocean waters. The formation of this rapidly strengthening weather system is a process called bombogenesis, which creates what is known as a bomb cyclone.