Kerala

100 Automatic Weather Stations for Kerala

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KSDMA identifies land in 14 districts for establishing 73 stations

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has offered to establish 100 Automatic Weather Stations (AWSs) in Kerala, a step which is expected to improve forecast accuracy significantly. The State government has issued orders approving the proposal.

The government had pressed for more AWSs in the aftermath of the 2018 floods. At present, IMD has only 14 AWSs in the State — one per district.

The Kerala State Disaster Management Authority (KSDMA) has identified land in 14 districts for establishing the first 73 AWS, with the government deeming these stations necessary for “averting threatening disaster situations in the State”. Work on the first 15 is expected to begin soon.

Nine of the new stations will come up in Thrissur, eight in Ernakulam, seven in Palakkad, and six each in Kozhikode, Kottayam, and Kollam. Kasaragod, Wayanad, Malappuram, and Pathanamthitta will get five stations each, Thiruvananthapuram four, Alappuzha three, and Kannur and Idukki, two.

Rainfall variability

Data from the new stations would go a long way in improving weather forecast accuracy, particularly in a scenario where rainfall variability has become very high, K. Santhosh, Director, IMD Meteorological Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, said. “Rainfall variability over distances is too high. For example, the rainfall recorded in Thiruvananthapuram city and Thiruvananthapuram airport can vary. Such situations offer stiff challenges to weather forecasting,” Mr. Santhosh said.

An AWS typically contains sensors, data loggers, rechargeable batteries, and communication devices. The 100 new AWS will be established and maintained by the IMD. Fifteen of the first 73 AWS will be established immediately. The remaining 27 will be added in a subsequent phase, Sekhar L. Kuriakose, Member Secretary, Kerala State Disaster Management Authority (KSDMA), said.

After weather forecasting in connection with the 2018 floods drew flak, the State government had complained to the Ministry of Home Affairs and the National Disaster Management Authority about the inadequate number of AWSs in the State.

IMD offer

Subsequently, the KSDMA had identified 120 locations in consultation with district administrations, the Kerala Water Authority, the Kerala State Electricity Board, and the Irrigation Department. The IMD had responded by offering to set up 100 stations, in varying numbers, in the 14 districts.

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Printable version | Dec 15, 2019 1:16:27 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/100-automatic-weather-stations-for-kerala/article29875835.ece

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