India’s weathermen want to know if people take them seriously.
The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has invited tenders from research agencies to conduct a perception study. “We want to know what the user [public] expects from us,” said A.B. Majumdar, a Pune-based IMD scientist in charge of analysing accuracy of forecasts.
The research agency that bags the contract in June would record feedback from a randomly selected sample by circulating an IMD-prescribed questionnaire. The survey would first be done in Mumbai, followed by other metros.
The department feels the survey could help it prepare better for forecasting monsoon. Last year, only 30 per cent of the IMD's monsoon forecasts were accurate. Often, officers are told to over-predict rainfall to prepare people for the worst-case scenario when it pours heavily.
“Common people don’t need all the information put on the IMD website. If they juggle information according to demand it will enhance services,” said Dr. K Krishnakumar, program director (climate change), with the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology in Pune.
The survey is also aimed at taking on competition from private companies selling customised weather data to professional users such as farmers and airlines.