The Rs. 10 crore Doppler Weather Radar (DWR) faced its first test this monsoon, as it had been unusable owing to technical glitches for two years after it was installed.
According to weather officials from the India Meteorological Department (IMD), real-time monitoring of clouds by the radar has made monsoon forecasting more efficient. The radar provides IMD real-time updates on cloud pictures and rainfall intensity estimates.
“Earlier, we received cloud imagery at an interval of two hours or more. But the doppler radar keeps updating cloud pictures and displays their specific location and their speed. This has enabled us to intimate agencies well in advance about monsoon conditions,” said VK Rajeev, director, western region, IMD.
The DWR, with a maximum range of 500kms was installed following the July 26, 2005 deluge to detect cyclones and formation of monsoon system. Before becoming operational this July, the DWR faced a two-year delay as the IMD and the radar’s makers Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) were engaged in repairing inaccuracies in its estimates and readings.
Pictures from the radar, said IMD officials, have also helped analyse location-specific rainfall. “We were able to measure rainfall in locations in and around the city where there are no rain gauges. Based on the pictures received, we are able to plot areas which have received heavy rainfall on the map,” said Sunil Kamble, director, DWR.
Experts said information from the radar could be put to even better use if it is integrated with the civic body’s weather alerts and updates. “To have reliable forecasts, DWRs will need to be calibrated with real-time rainfall data from the local networks,” said Professor Kapil Gupta, civil engineering department, IIT-B, who designed the civic body’s monsoon website.