The copter, fitted with sensors, will observe weather parameters at different heights; department will cross-check data

In a bid to encourage students, the meteorological department will soon launch a collaborative pilot study of the mini-copter developed by SRM University students to measure weather parameters.

This is part of the various measures initiated by the department on World Meteorological Day, which was observed on March 23 with the theme ‘Weather and Climate: Engaging Youth’.

The mini-copter designed by a 15-member student team of the aerospace department can fly up to 500 metres to observe weather parameters, including temperature, humidity and atmospheric pressure, and transmit data to a ground station.

Y.E.A. Raj, deputy director general of meteorology, said the study would serve to encourage the student team and check the quality of data produced by the copter. “We will expand the outreach programmes in colleges to create awareness among students about the gravity of climate change and the need for environmental conservation. Such programmes will also give an insight into possible careers in meteorology or atmospheric science,” he said.

D. Narayana Rao, director (research) SRM University, said the copter fitted with sensors would observe the weather parameters at different heights up to 500 metres. Made of carbon fibre, the copter will be able to fly continuously for 13 minutes. The meteorological department would launch a weather balloon for a month and compare the data recorded by the copter to check accuracy, Mr. Rao added.

On Monday, when the department commemorated World Meteorological Day, the public and students were allowed a peek into the observatories in Nungambakkam and Meenambakkam as well as the Doppler Weather Radar facility on Rajaji Salai.

Officials said nearly 1,000 students visit the various weather centres every month. On Monday alone, nearly 300 students visited the facilities. Several students are also supported to pursue projects in the department.