Vardhan inaugurates doppler weather radars in U'khand, Himachal

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New Delhi, Jan 15 (PTI) Earth Sciences Minister Harsh Vardhan inaugurated the doppler weather radars in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh on Friday that will improve forecasts in the hilly states and also for Char Dham and Kailash Mansarovar pilgrimages.

Vardhan also inaugurated the multi-mission meteorological data receiving and processing system that has been established in the IMD in collaboration with the ISRO.

The system will be utilised for monitoring and forecasting of severe weather events for defence services, disaster management, power sector, aviation, railway, tourism and agro-meteorological advisory services by generating specific satellite-based products imageries.

Speaking at the 146th India Meteorological Department (IMD) foundation day, Vardhan said the country was the fourth in its computing power after the UK, the US and Japan.

'I am told that we are the only country to have two ensemble models with the resolution of 12 kilometres each which were helping to provide the probabilistic forecast and warning for severe weather,' the minister said.

The chief ministers of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh -- Trivendra Singh Rawat and Jairam Thakur respectively -- were also present at virtual event.

Vardhan said the IMD was modernising its observational network in the central and western Himalayas by installation of the state-of-the art doppler weather radars in a phased manner at different locations.

'This radar will be providing severe weather information to the weather forecasters, thus improving the service being provided by the IMD catering to the welfare and safety of the public in the states of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh.

'It will also provide valuable support to the disaster managers and to the pilgrims undertaking the pilgrimage to Kailash Manasarovar and Char Dham,' he said.

Rawat and Thakur applauded the IMD for its services in meteorological forecasting that help the two hilly states in saving lives and property. The two highlighted the importance of accurate and advance weather information for their states as they are largely dependent on agriculture and tourism.

Vardhan said the IMD had been playing a significant role in protecting lives and livelihoods from the adverse effects of extreme weather events since its establishment in 1875.

'The IMD has been continuously redefining its focus for accurate prediction of monsoon and cyclones as our GDP is mainly based on agriculture.

'It has succeeded in minimising loss of lives from various extreme events like cyclone, heavy rain, thunderstorm, heat wave and cold wave in the recent years with its precise forecasting and timely warnings,' he said.

Vardhan pointed out that in the last monsoon season, the IMD introduced flash-flood guidance for all 30,000 watersheds of the country every six hours.

Flash-flood guidance is also provided to Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka every six hours, he added.

IMD Director General Mrutyunjay Mohapatra stressed that there had been a significant improvement in forecast accuracy of various severe weather events.

'The accuracy has increased by about 15-40 per cent for different severe weather events forecast during last five years. The thunderstorm warning is being provided for all districts and 894 cities and towns,' he said.

Ministry of Earth Sciences Secretary M Rajeevan, said under the agro-meteorological services, it is targeted to establish agro-meteorological units in 660 districts by 2025 and increase from 2,300 blocks in 2020 to 7,000 blocks in 2025.

The advisories will cover 7 crore farmers by 2022 and 10 crore by 2025. More than 4.3 crore farmers have subscribed for the information through mobile for planning their agricultural activities, Rajeevan said. PTI PR HMB