Wayanad sets a model in community weather monitoring

The community weather monitoring system in Wayanad, an initiation of the Hume Centre for Ecology and Wildlife Biology in association with the Advanced Centre for Atmospheric Radar Research, CUSAT, and the District Disaster Management Authority, has set a model in localised weather forecast, especially for the farming community.

“We have been using daily weather forecast for planning agricultural activities,” says K.V. Divakaran, a farmer at Anoth near Pozhuthana.

“At a time when climate change is posing serious threats to the farm community, advance site-specific information is useful for planning agricultural activities such as ploughing, nursery raising, fertilizer application, and harvesting,” says Mr. Divakaran.

The information not only saves time but also money, he adds.

“The forecast has benefitted nearly 100 traditional farmers under the Thirunelly agri producer company last season,” says Rajesh Krishnan, CEO of the farmers collective. The farmers, who are following the organic way of cultivation, can plan their agricultural operations in advance, he says.

“The initiative aims to build local resilience to the adverse impacts of climate change by equipping people with site-specific weather monitoring capabilities for addressing climate issues in Wayanad, one of the most climate-sensitive districts of the State,” says C.K. Vishnudas, director, Hume centre.

The system was launched four years ago mapping the major landslips and flood locations in the district after a comprehensive study. As the study found that extreme rainfall was the trigger for the landslips, a citizen science programme was initiated to understand the pattern of rainfall intensity with the support of 250 farmers, says Mr. Vishnudas.

The district was divided into 25 sq km grids and rain gauges were installed in the grids with the help of farmers. They share daily data from their locations at 8 a.m. through WhatsApp with the Hume centre, which in turn pass it on to the DDMA.

“Now, the daily rainfall data from 120 locations along with specific rainfall forecast help to closely monitor the threshold level for any possible landslips and floods in the region. The data collected from the locations show a west to east gradient. While the southern side, Chembra mountain ranges, has received 4,612 mm rainfall from June till now, the eastern side, Kallur has received only 1,234 mm rainfall during the period,” says Mr. Vishnudas.

The district is divided into four climatic regions based on the data to help farmers better manage the water resources. The research and development initiative of the past three years has now been placed on social media where daily weather information is shared with the public, he says.

Wayanad District collector Geetha inaugurated the programme recently.

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Printable version | May 21, 2022 8:27:38 pm |