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Saturday, July 21, 2018

Not so smart: Weather hot on LED boards, pleasant for IMD

LED screens installed by Chandigarh Pollution Control Committee show temperature reading at odds with India Meteorological Department recording.

Written by Sofi Ahsan | Chandigarh | Updated: June 9, 2017 8:10:40 am


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THE WEATHER in the city may have turned somewhat bearable thanks to the timely rain, but the Chandigarh Pollution Control Committee’s newly installed LED screens would have it otherwise. In at least one place where the screen has been put up, there was a whopping five-degree gap between the temperature display on the board and the maximum temperature of the day as given out by the India Meteorological Department. That’s not all. Each board in the city shows a different temperature, and on the same board, the reading fluctuated by as much as a degree every few minutes.

At Sukhna Lake, the temperature displayed on the LED screen on Thursday was 39 degrees Celsius, and within minutes changed to 38 degrees Celsius, but anyway in a range of six to five degrees higher than what IMD recorded as the day’s maximum.

On Thursday, a Chandigarh Newsline team visited all the spots where CPCC has installed screens to display air quality index and temperature recordings, interspersed with eco-friendly messages.

About 2 pm, when the screen at Sukhna showed 39 degrees Celsius, the screen at Chandigarh Railway Station and PGIMER showed 35 degrees Celsius. Traffic density could make a difference, but by that logic, the temperature should be lower at Sukhna where there is less traffic and more trees, than at PGIMER, which sees more vehicles and less greenery.

The Met department said the maximum temperature recorded on Thursday was 33 degrees Celsius, six degrees lower than normal.

Of the five screens that were unveiled on Tuesday, two were not functional. The screens in sectors 43 and 17 were blank when the Newsline team checked them out at 2 pm.

At the other three places, the screens showed varying readings within a time gap of two-three minutes, by as much as a degree up or down.

MeT department officials maintain that the change is usually a gradual process and the temperature cannot instantly go up or down like what has been witnessed on the screens.

“It cannot be like that. Temperature falls gradually and it cannot be instant and abrupt,” said MeT department director Surender Paul. “Our department has both automatic and manual ways to record the temperature and we compare both to come to the most accurate number. It is not possible to have such high difference in temperature within such a short distance in the city.”

Member secretary, CPCC, Birendra Choudhary asserts that the temperature on the screens is measured through sensors and he would seek a report from the scientist in-charge on the discrepancy between the screen readings and the weather department’s temperature record.

The scientist in-charge, Vivek Pandey, concedes that temperature recorded by the weather department is most accurate and only a difference of one-two degrees in their respective measurements is permissible.

“But the six-degree difference is huge and it has to be looked into. When we had installed the screens, the numbers were accurate but is has to be calibrated again,” Pandey said. “The system is sensor-based so a slight difference is natural.”

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