GB Nagar weather monitoring station defunct since July, gets forecasts from Delhi
Despite being home to three emerging cities of economic importance with separate development authorities—Noida, Greater Noida and Yamuna Expressway—the Gautam Budh Nagar district, which is spread across 1,400sqkm, does not have a single dedicated weather monitoring station.
Officials confirmed that an automatic weather station (AWS) in Noida’s Sector 62 has been defunct since July. For now, officials said, the district depends completely on the regional weather forecast station at Safdarjung, Delhi, which is approximately 40 kilometres from Noida.
“Weather conditions such as temperatures, rain, humidity, wind speed etc vary every 50sqkm to 20sqkm. If there are more AWS or manual stations the accuracy of overall weather forecast would be better. There are a number of defunct AWS across NCR and we are getting them checked. Last data received from Noida station was in July. We have also written to our head office in Pune regarding the same,” head of the regional weather forecasting centre, Indian Meteorological Department, (MID) Kuldeep Srivastava said.
An AWS, like the defunct one in Sector 62, is unable to provide a weather forecast. The data it generates includes the maximum and minimum temperatures, humidity, wind speed and direction, and rainfall. This data helps understand the weather patterns of the city, while the area-specific forecasts help administrative planning/functioning and the farming sector.
Weather analysts and experts said that weather patterns change every 10-12sqkm, and there was no rule defining the minimum number of weather stations, manned or unmanned, that a district must have. They, however, emphasized that data from local stations helps in understanding the changing climatic patterns of the region and provide accurate forecasts, which are beneficial for urban planning and agricultural.
“We get a number of calls from as far as Agra and Sitapur, mostly from the farmers who want to harvest their crop or sow a fresh one in accordance with the days that may see rain or hail. A lot of tourist agencies want to know fog conditions and families planning weddings also call for area-specific forecast,” Srivastava said.
“The data fed from AWS or even manned stations help improve the accuracy of weather model and thus the overall forecast and region-specific forecast. For hills, the weather patterns generally vary within a radius of two kilometers. In Maharashtra, we have AWS in a radius of 10km. There is no hard or fast rule to it, but it improves the accuracy,” said Mahesh Palawat, director private weather forecasting agency Skymet.
According to environmentalists, the basic meteorological information is nowadays a major tool to tackle new emerging urban menaces like heatwaves, air pollution, draught etc.
“Growing districts such as GB Nagar and Ghaziabad need dedicated weather forecast centres because they become the basis of plans to tackle heatwaves, coldwaves, fog, air quality. These matter to everyone. The district also has farmers and accurate data helps analysis for insurance and compensation process in case of drought or surplus rains,” city-based environmentalist Vikrant Tongad said.
According to IMD, a total of 30 AWS were installed in NCR during the Commonwealth Games in 2010. However, officials said that it is not clear how many of them are currently functional. They added that the NCR currently has seven Met observatories at Delhi’s Safdarjung, Narela, Palam, Aya Nagar, Ridge, and two in Haryana’s Gurugram and Faridabad. Of these, only those in Delhi are manned.