Each time there is adverse weather, like a storm or a hurricane, we are notified along with its name. However, storms have not always been named in this way and it is relevant to students to think about the developments to this change and also the implications that come with it.
The World Meterological Organization heads up the naming of storm, and has laid out a very stringent procedure for this job. For Atlantic hurricanes, there is a list of male and female names which are used on a six-year rotation. Names can be removed from this list if they have been used by other storms which have been particularly devastating and would therefore cause undue stress to any future populations.
The Met Office says naming big storms means people are more aware of them and how dangerous they can be. However, although this can be a positive aspect of naming storms, the process of doing so has had to adapt to changing political awareness and criticism.
Students looking to apply for HSPS may want to think about the political implications of the naming of storms and hurricanes. Names have been accused of being too westernised and therefore not respecting cultural diversity in the places that the storms are affecting the most. It is now accepted that names should be appropriate to the region they are affecting and not simply American/English.
Furthermore, on a social level students may want to think about the cultural and social implications of the interdisciplinary gender, class and race associations that come with the decision to name a storm. This are all considerations that are made before the naming of a storm takes place. They need to be aware of the contemporary factors currently at play. Storms take it in turns to have girls’ or boys’ names. Originally storms were only named after girls. In 1979, men’s names were introduced.
Looking at technological advancements producing media trends, the importance of names has been enabled. These storm names are found to be trending on twitter, and make the progress of the storm easier to track by people.