The Union Territory of Ladakh will get its own Meteorological Centre (MC) early next week. The new MC, to be established in the UT’s capital town of Leh, would provide weather forecasts, issue warnings in case of adverse events and perform all mandatory meteorological operations.
The Leh-MC will be virtually inaugurated at the hands of Dr Harsh Vardhan, minister for Earth Sciences (MoES) on December 29 in the presence of Ladakh Lt Governor RK Mathur and senior officials of the ministry.
Till date, weather for both the UTs — Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh was monitored by the MC – Srinagar. However, it is mandatory for every Indian state and UT to have a centre of the India Meteorological Department (IMD). This decision to establish an MC in Ladakh was taken following the union government’s decision to abrogate Article 370 in August 2019, whereby the Ladakh UT was constituted.
In March this year, a proposal for setting up an MC in Ladakh was taken up and the MoES approved the same in May.
Besides, Ladakh is a strategically and geo-politically vital location of India. After carrying out necessary ground surveys, the IMD has acquired land for constructing its building. But, for the time-being, the MC will operate out of a temporary building. The IMD sought government approval, completed administrative decisions and took up on-ground works for the new MC amidst the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic
In addition to the existing Automatic Weather Stations (AWS) operating here, the IMD shall be strengthening its network in near future.
“We will strengthen and expand our network of AWS. At least 10 additional AWS need to be installed at key locations namely Kargil, Drass, Pangong Tso, Zanskar and Nubra valleys. Our aim is to make the Leh MC a state-of-the art observatory among the high-altitude observatories of Asia,” Anand Sharma, head, Regional Meteorological Centre, Delhi, told The Indian Express.
The Leh MC would be responsible for collecting vital meteorological data from the cold desert region. This data will be used for carrying out future climate change studies observed at such high-altitude locations.
Located at approximately over 3,000 metres above sea level, Ladakh experiences plenty of sunny days in the year. Meteorologists hope to tap this abundant solar rays by installing special instruments in the region.
” With the availability of bright sunshine, we hope to tap solar energy. Being located at such high altitude, the ultra-violet radiations received here are very intense. Short, long, diffused wave radiations will also be measured here,” added Sharma, who will be overseeing the operations of the Leh MC.
A movable weather monitoring radar would soon be deployed at the Leh MC, which will be useful in issuing weather and Nowcast warnings.
“We want to be weather-ready and issue alerts to the locals in advance, ahead of any adverse weather event. Such information will be handy even for the tourists visiting Ladakh,” Sharma said.
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