The India Meteorological Department (IMD) is strengthening its radar network along the Himalayas with two more radars likely to be installed in the next one month.
The Himalayas play a pivotal role and their interaction with the winds blowing from the seas in the south — Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal — regulate the weather over the Indian region, including the most important summer monsoon. Hence, studying the mountains is even more vital to understand India’s weather and make accurate predictions.
“We have deployed three radars along the Himalayas and two more will be installed by next month. In all, 10 radars will be deployed along the Himalayas,” said M Rajeevan, secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences. He was making the inaugural address of the four-day virtual conference titled ‘Weather and climate over the mountainous regions’ organised by the Indian Meteorological Society, Shillong chapter, on Monday.
Rajeevan said about a quarter of the land surface on Earth was occupied by mountains and an equal proportion of the world’s population lives at such altitudes, and that due to global warming, the Himalayas, known as the Earth’s third pole, was warming at a much faster rate than the remaining polar regions.
He said it was a serious challenge in weather modelling without a good understanding of the Himalayas, and that as of now, there was sparse data about the region. “We plan to install more snow gauges and surface instruments to meet the requirements,” he added.
Overall understanding about mountains needed to be enhanced and special attention was required to be given to mountain weather, said Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, director general of the IMD.
He said, “Earlier, landslides were limited to the Himalayas and the Northeast, but in recent years, similar incidents have occurred in Kerala and Karnataka.”
The IMD was planning to develop specialised climate applications suiting mountainous regions alongside establishing a Regional Climate Centre dedicated to share weather and climate information among countries where the Himalayas span, Mohapatra said.
Rajeevan said once the Himalayas were covered, a similar radar network had been planned for the Northeast.
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