SOA pact with IITM-Pune to study lightning & thunder

The new locations to be added includes Berhampur, Keonjhar, Balangir, and Angul.
Dignitaries present at the MoU signing ceremony
Dignitaries present at the MoU signing ceremonyPhoto | Express

BHUBANESWAR: SOA university has collaborated with the Pune-based Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) to study lightning and thunderstorm phenomena. The two institutions signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Monday.

As per the agreement, which will be in effect for five years, SOA and IITM will explore the possibility of involving the India Meteorological Department (IMD) to operationalise forecasting the location and time of thunderstorms and associated lightning at the block and gram panchayat levels, as well as predicting droughts.

Efforts will be made to include the DAMINI network, the Odisha State Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA), state government systems, and Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVK) to disseminate information and create awareness among the public, aiming to reduce lightning-related casualties.

Odisha is one of the states with high lightning-related mortality. IITM’s director, Dr R Krishnan, said IITM will help enhance the lightning detection network in Odisha from the existing four locations to eight, with a coverage radius of 100 km. Currently, the lightning detection network under the project facilitated by SOA exists in Bhubaneswar, Balasore, Sambalpur, and Rayagada. The new locations to be added includes Berhampur, Keonjhar, Balangir, and Angul.

For the past five years, SOA and IITM, Pune, have been involved in various experiments to study lightning and thunderstorm phenomena and various electrical parameters of the atmosphere, achieving significant success in predicting thunderstorms and lightning in blocks across the state.

The two organisations will also jointly take extensive steps to enhance lightning and flash drought prediction in drought-prone districts of western Odisha, with an emphasis on joint research and development efforts, joint guidance of research students, and regular publication of scientific research papers.

IITM’s director, SOA’s vice-chancellor Prof Pradipta Kumar Nanda, IITM senior scientist V Gopalakrishnan and the dean of the Institute of Agricultural Sciences, Prof Santosh Kumar Rout were present.

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