In a bid to make weather forecasts more accurate, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has decided to revamp existing weather observatories across the state in the next five years.
At present, the state has 17 full-time observatories, which record temperature, rainfall, humidity and atmospheric pressure every three hours, and eight part-time observatories, which record data only twice a day.
“We want to further strengthen weather predictions; be it monsoon, earthquakes or data for agricultural purpose,” said RV Sharma, deputy director general, western region, IMD. The city has two observatories, at Colaba and Santacruz, which are not part of the revamp plan. “Mumbai’s observatories are well equipped. Upgrading others in the state will strengthen the network of observatories and will help in predicting forecasts more accurately,” said Sharma.
The development proposal under the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-2017) will be submitted to the IMD headquarters at Delhi for financial sanctions.
According to the proposal, the department will construct structures to house full-time observatories at Mahabaleshwar, Sangli, Satara, Kolhapur and Parbhani where they operate from rented premises. The department also plans to re-establish defunct part-time observatories at Nandurbar and Hingoli into full-time observatories.
The defunct part-time observatories at Matheran, Baramati, Devgad, Beed and Arvi in Satara will be revived and full-time observatories located at Pune and Osmanabad will be renovated.
“Since Dahanu and Ratnagiri are coastal stations, we will also construct seismic observatories in this region, which will provide us with real time data in the event of seismic tremors,” said Sharma.
The IMD also plans to replace radiosonde equipment in the existing 10 upper air observatories with a global positioning system (GPS) and introduce state-of-the-art technology at Mumbai airport (see box).
While radiosonde technology provides upper air data through a small instrument fixed to a balloon that relays information to the ground, the GPS will provide the same information at more heights with maximum accuracy.