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IMD: 150 years of weather forecast

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Doppler weather radars to be set up at 10 centres across Northeast

From Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI, Jan 15: The India Meteorological Department (IMD), which celebrated its 150th anniversary on Monday, has come a long way from working with just one person to using satellite data for forecast accuracy.
Established in Kolkata on January 15, 1875, the IMD initially relied on H.F. Blanford, who was serving as the imperial meteorological reporter. His role was to systematically study India’s climate and meteorology, using the knowledge for weather forecasting and cyclone warnings.
The department expanded its scope over the years, incorporating seismological measurements in 1877 and extending the port warning system to cover all Indian ports by 1886, enhancing maritime safety. In 1890, IMD took on the role of the Rainfall Registration Authority, standardising rain measurement through the adoption of a common rain gauge.
Inaugurating the event, Vice-President Jagdeep Dhankhar said the IMD serves much beyond forecasting weather by providing data crucial for farmers tending the fields and the jawans manning the borders.
“It provides a safety net from natural disasters and is extremely useful for our security concerns. From agriculture to healthcare, aviation to energy, it is present in our lives and with an affirmative stance. Farmers farming the land to jawans guarding the borders, IMD plays a critical positive role,” he said.
Stating that the IMD’s impact extends beyond the border, he said the neighbouring countries also rely on the weatherman’s expertise.
“AI-powered robotic systems will be used in assessing and forecasting weather conditions. Let us embrace the unpredictability, master the chaos, and stride boldly into a future where we not only predict but truly manage the weather,” Union Minister for Earth Sciences, Kiren Rijiju said in his address.
In his welcome address, IMD’s Director-General Mrutunajya Mohapatra narrated the evolution of the meteorological services in the country from the ancient era. He also highlighted the paradigm shift in all components of early warning systems including the observations, communication, modelling, dissemination, and services over the years.
M Ravichandran, the Secretary to the Ministry of Earth Sciences presided over the function.
The IMD will set up Doppler weather radars (DWRs) in the Northeast for surface observations, upper air observations, and national and international satellite-based observations.
The data from these observational systems will be assimilated into various state-of-the-art regional and global dynamical models to generate real-time weather forecasts at various spatial and temporal scales, officials told reporters during the conference.
The IMD is in the process of installing the DWRs in Guwahati, Jorhat, Tezpur, Silchar, Imphal, Aizawl, Dimapur, Dhubri, Seppa, and Miao.

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