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IMD’s storm-chasing planes to predict accurate weather
As part of the modernisation plans of the Indian Meteorological Department, it has been proposed by the government body to fly weather reconnaissance aircraft into cyclones to study them in detail
The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) proposes to use weather reconnaissance aircraft to fly into cyclones and study them elaborately, as part of the department’s modernisation plans.
Speaking to this newspaper, SB Thampi, Deputy Director General at the Regional Meteorological Centre (RMC), Chennai said that when there is a cyclone or any other cyclonic disturbance in the country, the aircraft would fly into the cyclone and measure various parameters.
“Currently, we look at the cyclone from a distance using remote sensing. Once we have the aircraft, we can directly fly into the cyclone zone to measure readings accurately, which will result in higher resolution data,” he said, adding that they would employ a pilot trained to fly the aircraft.
It may be noted that the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, known as the Hurricane Hunters of the US Air Force Reserve has been flying into tropical storms and hurricanes since 1944. About IMD’s automatic weather stations (AWS) and automatic rain gauges (ARG), Thampi says that the department has seven AWS and ARG in Chennai city and plans to expand it soon. “We want to expand it to provide more accurate data.
Several institutions have installed AWS and ARGs in addition to the ones we have set up in the city. We can have collaborations with these institutions and use their data for betterment of the forecast system,” he added.
The IMD has been sending short messages (SMS) to farmers registered with it, periodically to keep them updated about weather conditions. “Public can also register with our weather warning service (IMD website) to get periodic SMS and whenever there is some impending cyclone or severe weather conditions, we will send messages to the users through SMS,” Thampi said.
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