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24 May 2017

Weather forecasts

TT, New Delhi, May 23: The India Meteorological Department has begun generating weather forecasts for 12km-by-12km patches of land, a key step towards delivering forecasts for about 6,500 blocks across the country to replace its current district-level forecasts, senior officials said today.
A top earth sciences ministry official said the proposed block-level forecasts would also enable the weather agency to issue customised forecasts for about 300 tourism sites across India.
"The IMD plans to deliver operational block-level forecasts by 2019," Madhavan Rajeevan, secretary in the earth sciences ministry, said, presenting his ministry's planned activities over the next two years to Harsh Vardhan, the minister for science, technology and earth sciences.
Scientists say the block-level forecasts with predictions about maximum and minimum temperatures, cloud cover, rainfall, humidity and wind conditions are expected to be more helpful than the district-level forecasts.
For the switch, the IMD had to shift to a finer resolution global weather prediction model, changing from forecasts for 22km-by-22km land patches to 12km-by-12km patches.
This change is necessary to increase the accuracy of the block-level forecasts, said Swapan Kumar Roy Bhowmik, a senior scientist at the IMD. "We're already generating block forecasts for about 100 blocks on an experimental basis - in a testing mode."
Rajeevan said the ministry was in the process of acquiring a new high-performance supercomputer, about 10 times faster than the IMD's existing supercomputer. Scientists at the National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting, Noida (Uttar Pradesh), will also use the supercomputer to improve agro-meteorological forecasts that are delivered to farmers across the country.
The IMD also plans to generate customised forecasts for specific tourist and pilgrimage sites that people could access through a mobile phone App. "Someone planning a trip to Manali would be interested in the snow conditions there, while someone planning a Goa trip might want to know whether the sky will be clear on the beach," said a weather scientist.

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