‘Improved weather predictions saving lives’

South India under influence of rapidly changing climate conditions, says former Union Secretary

M. Mohapatra, Director General of the India Meteorological Department (IMD), said on Tuesday that a constantly improving weather prediction system in the country had helped considerably reduce human pain as well as make savings in terms of rescue, rehabilitation, and related expenses. He was delivering the presidential address, online, at the opening day of the international symposium on “Tropical meteorology on changing climate, consequences and challenges”. Intromet-2021 is being jointly hosted by the Cochin University of Science and Technology (Cusat) and the local chapter of the Indian Meteorological Society. There has been 35% to 50% improvement in the way the course and intensity of cyclones are predicted. There has also been improvement in the way intense rainfall was predicted. The ability to make better predictions had saved thousands of lives during the Orissa super cyclone in 1999, he said. India had also garnered expertise in predicting the arrival of rain with thunder and lightning, heat and cold waves and avalanches, which has helped improve preparedness and planning as well as launching relief measures. The inaugural session was addressed, among others, by Cusat Vice Chancellor K. N. Madhusoodanan, D. R. Pattanaik, secretary, IMS, New Delhil and chairman of Intromet 2021 K. Mohankumar. The whole of South India has now come under the influence of rapidly changing climate conditions and Northeast monsoon rain is intensifying, said M. Rajeevan, former Secretary of the Ministry of Earth Sciences. He said the Bay of Bengal had a key role to play in the Northeast monsoon and the unprecedented heating of the Bay as well as the Arabian Sea was evident.

M. Ravichandran, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences, said predicting the monsoon conditions had turned into a big challenge even as global warming had resulted in unprecedented disasters. More than the earth, the oceans were heating up, which helped rapid evaporation and heavy spells of rain. There was increasing ocean acidity, melting of glaciers, cyclones, heat waves, deteriorating ocean conditions and sea erosion

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