New Delhi: Union Minister of Science & Technology and Earth Sciences Dr Harsh Vardhan today inaugurated the new user-friendly website of the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) and dedicated to the nation the System of Aerosol Monitoring And Research (SAMAR), which is a network of 16 aethalometers, 12 sky radiometers and 12 nephelometers to study black-carbon concentration, aerosol radiative properties, environmental visibility respectively & their climatological impacts.
Dr Harsh Vardhan was the chief guest on the 141st foundation day of the IMD. Dr Madhavan Nair Rajeevan, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences presided over the function.
IMD is celebrating the Foundation Day with a view to promote awareness about advancements made in the field of Weather Monitoring & Forecasting during 2015 and the new initiatives taken by the Department for accelerating its capabilities & services, with focus on further improving the accuracy of prediction of extreme weather events at city, block and district level.
Addressing the gathering, Dr Harsh Vardhan congratulated IMD officials for the timely dissemination of critical weather-related information to 1.15cr farmers through SMS, agri-portal and website in 2015 which has gone a long way in reducing the devastating impact of the erratic rainfall on the kharif crop. Dr LS Rathore, DGM, IMD in his discourse, noted that 2015 was the warmest year in the last decade and IMD’s predictions on the below-average south-west monsoons helped the farmers adopt short-term crops and reduce the negative outcomes.
Speaking at the function, Dr Rajeevan pointed out that we need to adopt a dynamic prediction system to counter the adverse effects of global warming. He expressed that with such a step we would be able to make the agriculture sector immune to the vagarities of the monsoons which would certainly elevate the level of our economic growth profile.
Last year, the IMD accurately predicted the south-west monsoon (actual: 86%, forecast: 88% of long period average), north-east monsoon (actual: 132%, forecast: >111% of long period average.
Another feat of the IMD involves accurate prediction of extreme weather events like heavy rains over Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu during southwest and northeast monsoon 2015, the severe heat wave in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh in May, hailstorm over the northwest, central and adjoining north peninsula during March.
Significant improvement in short and medium range weather forecasts ( Probability of Detection & Critical Success Index improved by 37% and 46% and False Alarm rate & missing rate reduced by 77% and 36% respectively in 2013-2015 over 2002-2012 for the southwest monsoon heavy rainfall warnings). Accurate prediction of cyclones (forecast error reduced by 13,13,17 km for 1,2,3 days, respectively in 2015 over 2010-2014).
The IMD also predicted right the cyclones (forecast error reduced by 13,13,17 km for 1,2,3 days, respectively in 2015 over 2010-2014). It provided city weather forecast for 324 stations, tourism forecast for 106 stations and nowcast for 156 stations.
The department increased forecasts and colour code warnings validity from 3 to 5 days over the country and introduced sector wise 7-days special forecast & warnings for Western Himalayan Region for Indian Army. It also provided a model-based QPF for river basin for flood forecasting.
The IMD has made rapid strides in modernising its services by adopting the ‘Digital India’ initiative of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, using the latest technology for information dissemination. It has upgraded its website to make it more user-friendly. The department is now widely using the GIS platform, mobile applications and SMS for the dissemination of its alerts and advisories.
SMS-based cyclone alert/warning system, GIS-based soil moisture maps, dissemination of information about fog and earthquake through SMS are some of the initiatives taken. Under ‘Make in India’, Department has already deployed 20 DRISHTI Transmissometers at critical Airports and 222 DTH-based Digital Cyclone Warning Dissemination Systems (CWDS). Automatic weather observing system jointly developed by National Aeronautical Laboratory and IMD is under validation.
Former Secretary of the Ministry of Earth Sciences Dr Shailesh Nayak was felicitated on this occasion.
Dr Harsh Vardhan also gave away certificates of appreciations to the best employees and best officers of IMD who have made outstanding contributions during 2015. In addition to this, certificates of merit were given to the winners of essay, debate and art competitions organised by the IMD during the year.