• Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) Strengthening Its Observational Network
Last year during the pre monsoon season a series of thunderstorm/dust storm affected the northern states and claimed about 200 lives. In view of this the India Meteorological Department will be implementing an end-to-end prediction system for predicting thunderstorms/lightning by April 2019. Union Minister of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences and Environment and Forests and Climate Change, Dr. Harsh Vardhan told at a press conference in New Delhi that Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) and IMD are developing prediction tools for thunderstorm/lightning.
IITM Pune has already installed 48 lightning sensors around the country which can locate the thunderstorm/lightning activities on real time. IITM Pune also developed a Mobile App called “DAMINI” to give alerts on impending lightning activity over the area. The DAMINI App is available from Google Stores.
Dr. Harsh Vardhan also informed that currently IITM Pune and IMD are developing a new website for IMD along with the Mobile Apps for Farmers and City Forecasts. These new tools will help IMD to disseminate forecasts and warnings on time and more effectively to the users and the new website and mobile Apps will be ready for launch by June 2019.
Focusing on IMD’s Observational Network the Union Minister today said that, IMD is strengthening the observational network and by end of this year, 10 new X-band weather radars will be installed over NW Himalayas (J &K, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand). Dr. Harsh Vardhan further stated that, 11 more C-band radars will be installed by IMD by 2020 over the plains of India including one over Andaman Nicobar Islands and one over Lakshadweep Islands. “In addition, IMD is installing 200 Automated Weather Stations at District Agromet Units for providing weather services to farmers and another 200 AWS will be installed over major cities and towns for providing City Specific Weather information and forecasts.” said Dr. Vardhan.
All these observatories are expected to be established by end of 2020. On the specific request from Kerala Government, IMD will be installing 100 new Automated Weather Stations including rain-gauges to monitor weather activities in the state.
The Minister further informed the press that IITM Pune with the help of IMD and Mumbai Municipal Corporation is installing a new dense rain-gauge network over Mumbai City with 200 rain-gauges. In addition 4 X-band radars will be also installed so that a merged rainfall data set at 2 km resolution will be prepared and made available to public on real time. “This facility will help the city administration and general public to know the prevailing rainfall situation in the city on real time basis. For this purpose, already a mobile App has been developed.”, added Dr. Vardhan.
In another initiative the existing 130 Agro Meteorological Field Units , have an addition of 8 new District Agro Meteorological Field Units (DAMUs) which have been established and also Block level Agro Meteorological forecasts have been started in 200 blocks.