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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

X-band radar in Leh, India’s highest point, among four new radars

Indigenously made radars also for Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai for improved weather forecasts.

By: Express News Service | Pune |
Updated: January 14, 2022 8:26:22 pm
Leh, X-band radar in Leh, India's highest point, Indian Space Research Organisation, ISRO, India Meteorological Department, IMDDoppler radar in Leh (File)

Celebrating its 147th foundation day on Friday, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) commissioned four doppler weather radars, including an X-band radar in Leh, the highest altitude in the country.

As the IMD joined hands with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to design and manufacture the radars, Delhi got its third doppler radar in the form of an X-band radar at Ayanagar, with a radius of 100 km around the national capital region. The other radars are at Palam and Mausam Bhavan, the department’s headquarters. And Mumbai got its second radar, a C-band one at Veravalli, with a radius of 450 km around the city. Also commissioned was an X-band radar covering a 150km radius around Chennai, the third for the southern city.

Doppler radars help forecasters observe rainfall, advance of cloudbands, thunderstorm and lightning in real time. The radar operations are particularly crucial during the extreme weather events like heavy rainfall, and data from these are used in predicting flash floods locally.

With the latest additions, the IMD now has 33 radars in the country. In January last year, two doppler radars were commissioned in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

The need for nowcasting information (weather warning over three to six hours) is growing in the changing climate scenario, when the frequency of extreme weather events is on a rise, said M Ravichandran, a secretary in the Ministry of Earth Sciences. “Smart and urban cities will need more nowcast information. We wish to populate the country with a number of radars and leave no area uncovered. At least 90 radars will be needed to cover the entire geographical area of the country,” he said.

R K Mathur, Lt Governor of Ladakh, welcomed the installation of the radar in Leh. In December 2020, the IMD inaugurated a Meteorological Centre in Leh, its office located at the highest altitude in India. “Being a trans-Himalayan region, Ladakh suffers frequent and sudden weather changes. Ladakh will need more weather forecasts, particularly around Kargil, as the Zojila tunnel will soon be open round the year,” Mathur said.

Mathur urged the IMD to provide aviation-related guidance as several flight trips are undertaken to the cold-desert Union territory.

Dr K Sivan, chairman of the ISRO, said the space agency was working closely with the IMD to establish a network of wind profilers and other instruments that would enable in-situ sample collections and observations. Sivan also talked about the proposed lab at Chandipur in Odsha’s Balasore district for both the IMD and the ISRO.

Union minister Dr Jitendra Singh launched websites related to aviation meteorology and forecasts, geospatial services, vulnerability atlas, a mobile-app for the public observation system.

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