In an attempt to improve weather forecasts and reach out to people, the Meteorological Department will tie up with a few Kendriya Vidyalaya schools and the Archaeological Survey of India to install automatic weather stations across Tamil Nadu.
At present, the department has a network of 39 automatic weather stations and nearly 75 automatic rain gauges. In an effort to create a denser observation network and and spread awareness about weather, the India Meteorological Department has chalked out two projects under the Ministry of Earth Sciences.
Department officials said a denser network to collect weather data, including temperature level and rainfall, would help quantify rainfall in a particular area and enable forecasts for a specific region.
Visitors to some tourist places would be able to learn about the weather in the region before venturing out.
Citing the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report, S. Balachandran, Deputy Director General of Meteorology, Chennai, said natural disasters were among the factors that affected the economy. “It is imperative to strengthen the observation network to improve weather forecasts,” he said.
Initially, the department will install automatic weather stations (AWS) in Kendriya Vidyalaya schools in Avadi near Chennai, Karaikudi, Mandapam in Ramanathapuram district, Nagercoil, Sivagangai, Puducherry and Tiruchi. Students will also get to learn about weather observation and prediction. The data will be used by the department, he said.
AWS at tourist spots
Similarly, there are plans to set up AWS and information display facilities at a few tourist places. Some of the places being considered include the Madurai Meenakshi temple, the Srirangam temple, and ASI sites such as Mamallapuram and Fort St. George.
Such measures would help improve the capability of the numerical weather models. Moreover, efforts were on to replace 11 AWS that are not functioning properly in the State, an official said.
Drawing from a recent visit to the Japanese Meteorological Agency, Mr. Balachandran said Japan had a dense network of 28 radars. “We have similar approaches to weather. But, the weather variability differs. Japan too faces similar issues in maintaining the observation network,” he said.
Communicating the vagaries of weather to people was another vital factor consideration, he added.