Not ready to wait for one more error, Government turns to ISRO for weather forecast data

By Rajesh Abraham| Express News Service | Published: 10th September 2018 06:07 AM
Image for representational purpose only.

KOCHI: The Kerala Government is looking for a tie-up with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to source weather details amid criticism that the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has failed to forewarn Cyclone Ockhi and the recent heavy rains, which triggered the floods in the state.The government initiated discussions with the ISRO’s Scientific Secretary last week to explore the possibility of an arrangement with the space agency to share weather data and satellite images, top sources told ‘Express’.

“We can’t wait for another ‘erratic’ forecast from the IMD. We’ve started talking with the ISRO’s Scientific Secretary for a possible data-sharing arrangement,” a senior officer said.Contours of the arrangement are still being worked out. It is not known whether the space agency will provide weather forecast along with satellite images and data; or it will supply only the data, leaving it to the government agencies to study and arrive at a conclusion.

It is likely the Hyderabad-based National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) will be providing the Kerala government with the requisite data.NRSC, which is responsible for remote-sensing satellite data acquisition, processing as well as dissemination and decision support for disaster management, has a station at Shadnagar near Hyderabad for acquiring data from Indian satellites as well as others.

Kerala University Department of Futures Studies senior system analyst Sanal Kumar S P pointed out the IMD is India’s nodal agency for forecasting weather and it might raise its objections on arrangements with other agencies.The IMD had objected in the past when the Andhra Pradesh government started receiving weather reports directly from the ISRO.

The government officers pointed out that many countries source data from multiple agencies on weather forecast. In the US, for instance, private companies too supply the data even though National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is the government agency for weather forecast.
Kerala is also looking at multiple agencies for weather information. Recently, IBM’s 
The Weather Company dashboard was installed at the CM’s office for giving regular weather update feeds. “We’ve found the data by The Weather Company to be more reliable,” the officer said.

Tags : IMD ISRO Kerala

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