Govt taking steps to improve IMD's prediction accuracy, expert group to study thunderstorms says Harsh Vardhan

Vardhan noted that the absolute error of the IMD's monsoon forecast for seasonal rainfall has shown a significant decrease after the implementation of the new statistical ensemble forecasting system in 2007 compared to previous years.

Press Trust of India July 18, 2018 14:46:27 IST
Govt taking steps to improve IMD's prediction accuracy, expert group to study thunderstorms says Harsh Vardhan

New Delhi: The government is taking several steps to further improve the accuracy of predictions made by the meteorological department, Union minister Harsh Vardhan said on Wednesday.

Govt taking steps to improve IMDs prediction accuracy expert group to study thunderstorms says Harsh Vardhan

File image of Harsh Vardhan. Firstpost

The Earth Sciences Minister told the Lok Sabha that the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted a normal monsoon during the current southwest monsoon season. "Rainfall over the country as a whole for the 2018 southwest monsoon season (June to September) is most likely to be normal (96 percent to 104 percent of long period average)," he said during Question Hour.

Vardhan noted that the absolute error of the IMD's monsoon forecast for seasonal rainfall has shown a significant decrease after the implementation of the new statistical ensemble forecasting system in 2007 compared to previous years. The IMD was able to correctly predict the deficient monsoon rainfall experienced during 2014 and 2015, the minister said, adding the government has taken various measures to upgrade the IMD forecast system to "further improve prediction accuracy".

"Systematic efforts are being made to further improve statistical forecasting system," he said. Under the Monsoon Mission, a new dynamical prediction system for long-range forecasting of Indian monsoon has been implemented by the IMD. "The IMD is working to improve the skill of this dynamical prediction system in collaboration with Indian and foreign academic institutions," Vardhan said

Vardhan also stated that an expert group has been set up by the government for conducting a research on thunderstorms which often pose a serious problem to the people and the socio-economic sector. He said that for many years, the India Meteorological Department and other institutes have been involved in basic research on thunderstorms but the scale of the study was much smaller compared to the research being done in other areas like monsoon and climate change.

"The Ministry of Earth Sciences has formed an expert group consisting of scientists from the IMD, Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology and National Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting as members of the working group," he said during the Question Hour. The expert group is mandated for development of different monitoring techniques and predictions for thunderstorms and the group is expected to come out with a better strategy by March 2019.

The minister said thunderstorms are a regular feature, especially during the pre-monsoon season and they were often accompanied by rain, strong winds, lightning and hail, posing serious problems to the general public and various socio-economic sectors like aviation, agriculture, transport, power supply etc.

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