After failing to put it to use to gauge rain it predicts rainfall a few hours in advance the previous monsoon,the India Meteorological Department (IMD) officials have claimed that the Doppler Weather Radar (DWR) will be fully operational this monsoon.
The radar,an instrument to determine rainfall over a specific area in advance,was proposed as a tool for better monsoon preparedness after the 2005 deluge. However,it was installed in October 2010 and has since then been marred by technical glitches.
As of now,the Met department can only predict if the city will receive rain in the next one to two days,the Doppler radar was especially procured to help predict the quantity of rain an area would receive two to three hours in advance. Thus,if a flood-like situation is likely in an area a few hours,the BMC could be alerted to avert a 2005-like disaster.
Met officials had said that the radar would be commissioned in time for the rains but was not used due to technical problems. We tried to use it last monsoon but the output…. was not accurate, said S G Kamble,director of DWR,IMD Mumbai. This caused severe inconvenience to disaster management officials of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) last monsoon who claimed they were caught unawares when the city received 100-mm rainfall in less than five hours,despite availability of a hi-tech forecasting instrument.
Installed and supplied by Bharat Electronics Ltd(BEL),the radar has been experiencing discrepancies in data for over a year. There is unwanted noise or echo in the radar due to which we may overestimate data and make a wrong prediction, said Kamble. However,officials claim these issues will be resolved before monsoon.
The BEL engineers have been working on the radar for over a year and have promised us that all issues will be resolved by the end of May. We will then test the radar on site,according to standard procedures and hope to have it fully operational this monsoon, said KS Hosalikar,scientist,IMD Mumbai.
There are plans to procure another Doppler radar for the city. For a mega city like Mumbai,we need to have alternative arrangements in case the available radar is not functioning. We have proposed an additional doppler radar in the next five year plan. It is likely to be set up near the airport, said Hosalikar.
The DWR,which cost
Rs 10 crore,can predict total cloud cover upto 300 km. It can provide information on the type of cloud,which direction it is moving and can predict two to three hours in advance how much it will rain (in mm) and in which specific area the cloud will give rain.