Community-based Weather Forecast on the Anvil - The New Indian Express

Community-based Weather Forecast on the Anvil

Published: 03rd January 2014 08:13 AM

Last Updated: 03rd January 2014 08:13 AM

The Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) is planning to rope in village panchayats across the country for improving weather forecast. They will be provided with automatic rain gauges and temperature sensors and the data collected will be used for weather forecast.

In order to reach out to the village panchayats, the MoES plans to tie up with the Ministry of Rural Development. Through this, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) hopes to provide block-level weather updates.

“The idea is to have weather related data at smaller levels like block/tehsil/taluk as that will play a major role in improving overall weather forecast. This will help in improving accuracy of weather forecast even at the national level,” said an MoES official.

Each village panchayat will be provided with a basic rain gauge and temperature sensors. The instrument will cost around Rs. 1000 and would be placed at the panchayat buildings. “It’s a simple instrument and people will just have to measure daily data of the rain and temperature and then SMS them to the district control rooms. The data from all the blocks in a district will be collated and used for giving region specific forecast,” said the official. The MoES plans to start it on a pilot project basis in a limited number of villages. Based on the feedback, it will be extended across the country. “It is a doeable thing since it needs no big capital investment or intensive training and is low on maintenance. The best part is that it involves community and is kind of an interface between the users and the IMD,” said the official. The IMD, which is often criticised for failing to provide accurate weather forecast, hopes that the involvement of village panchayats will help in improving it.

“There are complaints that when the IMD says that a particular district will receive heavy rainfall, some blocks do not get any rainfall. This will remove these discrepancies in the weather forecast,” the official said. The block-level weather data will also help in disaster preparedness and dispersal of resources during drought and floods. “Once we know that these many blocks in any district would get more rains or no rains, the district administration can channel resources accordingly. It will be of great help to farmers, who can plan agricultural activities such as sowing,” the official added.

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