Saturday, October 24, 2020
Home News Reports Indian Meteorological Department - What to make of them?

Indian Meteorological Department – What to make of them?

The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), which forecasts weather patterns in India, has for long been a liability to the government, as well as to the citizens. For many of us, who still remember the old monopoly days of Doordarshan, where the last five minutes of the daily news was devoted to weather – it was a practical joke that whatever the forecast was – we could be sure of opposite to happen. However, the recent performance of the IMD has been chequered to say the least.

First, let me give the credit where it is due. IMD correctly forecast the cyclone “hudhud” in October 2014, which helped the Andhra Pradesh and Odisha administrations to take adequate precautions. Likewise, IMD also correctly forecast cyclonic storm “nilofer” in the western coast of India, also in October 2014. Also, periodic warnings given to the fishermen community have saved countless lives over the years. Also, IMD has been successfully forecasting the weather patterns for the annual Amarnath Yatras.

However, the credibility of IMD takes a serious hit, when it comes to the forecast of monsoons. We don’t need to emphasize enough that monsoons are critical to India for agriculture and farming. Hence, it becomes even more critical that IMD is held accountable. Let us consider this year – states of Odisha and West Bengal are now suffering flood like situation; where as parts of Karnataka and Maharasthra face drought like situation. Has the IMD been able to predict any of this? If not, what is the whole purpose of having the department. Marathwada region has seen innumerable number of farmer suicides over the years. Has the IMD made any recommendation to the government about declaring this area not suitable for agriculture – so that farmers can look for other avenues for their livelihood? There is no point in farmers waiting for rains, when there is little or no chance of any – if recent history is any indicator. IMD needs a serious dose of professionalism to be held accountable for their work.

In addition, IMD’s performance in the last few years has not been a smooth sail either. As a snapshot, let us take a look at IMD’s monsoon predictions in 2014:

Region

For the Period

Forecast %

Actual Monsoon

Forecast made on

24th Apr 2014

9th June 2014

12th Aug 2014

All India June – September

95 ± 5

93± 4

87 ± 4

88

Northwest India June – September

85 ± 8

76 ± 8

79

Central India June – September

94 ± 8

89 ± 8

90

Northeast India June – September

99 ± 8

93 ± 8

88

Southern Peninsula June – September

93 ± 8

87 ± 8

93

 

We can draw these inferences from the above table:

  • The first forecast made in April 2014 was not met. Hence, farmers were failed by the IMD, in terms of any preparations they could make for the monsoon season
  • This forecast (made in April 2014) was only made at the national level – hence, it is of little use for farmers
  • The second forecast made in June 2014 has also not been very accurate, when you compare with the actual monsoon
  • The third forecast made in Aug 2014 has been fairly accurate only in Northwest and Central India. Whereas, it again missed accuracy in Northeast and South India.I accept that they are within the MoE, but even in the third month of monsoon if the IMD cannot make fairly accurate forecast, it is a sign of mediocrity.
  • Which brings me to the critical point – margin of error (MoE). A MoE of 8% is scandalous for any forecast. It is time for IMD to improve its technology or its statistical models to reduce the MoE. (the IMD uses a term “model error” instead of MoE)

This is an area where the government needs to invest more with the latest technologies and equipments. If not, at least the private players must be encouraged to get into this field to bring innovation. It is encouraging to see the emergence of skymetweather.com as another serious player. However, having a small sample of few years must not convince us that they are better than IMD.

IMD’s performance on weather monitoring and forecasts aside, its ability to detect early warnings of earthquakes is a big let-down. We can all agree that globally there has been little success in accurately predicting the earthquakes. However, based on reports, IMD is incapable of accurately measuring the “scale and characteristics of an earthquake” after the event. This is the reason why we heard vague statements by IMD officials after the recent Nepal earthquake about “multiple aftershocks possible” – without giving the scale or magnitude of these aftershocks.

This brings us to the point of organizational mess in IMD. IMD, as an organization, is part of the Ministry of Earth Sciences. At the same time, a department in IMD, the “Environmental Meteorology Unit” is part of Ministry of Environment and Forests. IMD also gives crucial support in giving meteorological information to the civil aviation sector. To facilitate this task, they need to work with Ministry of Civil Aviation. There is another department providing service of “positional astronomy”. If you are wondering what this is, do not worry, you have company. Among other tasks, this department publishes “Rashtriya Panchang” in 14 languages in India. Now, why any government needs to be involved in the business of publishing panchangs is beyond me. We can appreciate working in a matrix structure, reporting to various ministries – but in government institutions, this usually means more bureaucracy and more problems.

PS: The skeptic me also doesn’t rule out political interference in 2014. With impending elections, IMD may have forced to predict normal monsoon. But this will remain a wild guess, till we have solid evidence to back it up.

Source: Most of the information in this report is available on- www.imd.gov.in

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

Ullas
Global Citizen, Kannada roots, Indian values, Man United spirit, Fiscal conservative

Related Articles

Trending now

Radio Mirchi RJ finds space with radical preacher Zakir Naik as she waters down terms like ‘Kafir’ and ‘Jihad’

A video featuring Radio Mirchi RJ Sayema is doing rounds on the internet in which she was seen normalising anti-Hindu bigotry by legitimising the usage of radical Islamic terms as 'Kafir' and 'Jihad'.

Pune: Police tricks caretaker-turned-thief into arrest through romantic social media chats

Pune Police created a fake Facebook account posing as a "woman" and lured the thief into meeting him at a place where the police officials arrested him

PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti refuses to unfurl the Indian flag, BJP demands arrest for her seditious remarks

In her first press conference after being released from her 14-month detention, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti denounced the Indian flag and pegged for the restoration of Article 370

After Twitter, Amazon’s Alexa now claims Jammu and Kashmir is part of China, netizens fume

As per reports, Alexa uses a machine-learning algorithm and more than a dozen 'question-answer techniques' to determine the best response to a user query.

‘Kale Baba’ aka Nasir caught sexually exploiting women in Lucknow, Times of India gives it a Hindu spin by calling the accused as ‘Tantrik’

The Times of India on Saturday attempted to give a Hindu spin to a crime perpetrated by an Islamic cleric, who is an accused in the sex racket, by referring to him as a 'Tantrik'.

NBSA orders AajTak to apologise live on October 27 for spreading fake news on Sushant Singh Rajput case

The NBSA had earlier asked Aaj Tak to pay a fine of Rs 1 lakh and had asked the broadcaster to air an apology admitting on national television that it did not conduct the due diligence required prior to telecasting the tweets.

Recently Popular

‘He supplies drugs and girls’: Estranged wife of Mahesh Bhatt’s nephew Luviena Lodh alleges harassment by nephew-uncle duo

Luviena Lodh said that Mahesh Bhatt is the don of the industry, and he controls everything that goes on in the film industry

Exclusive: Conversation that shows how Mumbai Police is trying to coerce witness into naming Republic TV in TRP scam

While Hansa Research report and the FIR filed named India Today in TRP scam, in less than 24 hours, Mumbai Police had seemingly made up its mind that Republic TV was the culprit

France: Charlie Hebdo cartoons projected on government building to express solidarity with deceased teacher who was beheaded by Islamic terrorist

Days after the barbaric beheading of teacher Samuel Paty on the streets of Paris by a terrorist for showing the cartoons of Prophet Mohammad to his students, support continues to pour in for the deceased teacher.

‘Jism ki garmi’: How Hindi film industry disregarded consent and normalised rape and molestation over the years

The Hindi film industry has, knowingly or unknowingly, convinced a generation of people that rape is normal when done in light of 'greater good'.

Lucknow: Jama Mazar caretaker ‘Kale Baba’ caught running sex racket, video goes viral

The caretaker has allegedly confessed to police that he was sexually exploiting women and engaging them in illicit activities in the name of curing infertility and other ailments.

Complaints filed against Eros Now and Arré for vulgar social media posts related to Navratri

Both Eros Now and Arre had published social media posts linking Navratri festival with sex and vulgarity
- Advertisement -

“Not my intention to be culturally insensitive to Indian community”: Writer of bizarre ‘papadum’ song apologises after it goes viral on Twitter

Writer of bizarre Papadum song confirms the speculation on social media that the Indian woman in the video was not comfortable doing it

Radio Mirchi RJ finds space with radical preacher Zakir Naik as she waters down terms like ‘Kafir’ and ‘Jihad’

A video featuring Radio Mirchi RJ Sayema is doing rounds on the internet in which she was seen normalising anti-Hindu bigotry by legitimising the usage of radical Islamic terms as 'Kafir' and 'Jihad'.

Funny ‘fact check’ video by Fauxy shows guy drinking urine to compare it with Budweiser, beer company sues, Delhi HC rules in company’s favour....

While The Fauxy debunked the claim that Budweiser beer contains urine in a satire video, the company accused it of making the claim

Pune: Police tricks caretaker-turned-thief into arrest through romantic social media chats

Pune Police created a fake Facebook account posing as a "woman" and lured the thief into meeting him at a place where the police officials arrested him

Kerala: Woman tied to a hospital bed, daughter-in-law barred from meeting patient

The Coronavirus-infected woman is now undergoing treatment at a private hospital and her condition is said to be stable.

PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti refuses to unfurl the Indian flag, BJP demands arrest for her seditious remarks

In her first press conference after being released from her 14-month detention, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti denounced the Indian flag and pegged for the restoration of Article 370

After Twitter, Amazon’s Alexa now claims Jammu and Kashmir is part of China, netizens fume

As per reports, Alexa uses a machine-learning algorithm and more than a dozen 'question-answer techniques' to determine the best response to a user query.

‘Kale Baba’ aka Nasir caught sexually exploiting women in Lucknow, Times of India gives it a Hindu spin by calling the accused as ‘Tantrik’

The Times of India on Saturday attempted to give a Hindu spin to a crime perpetrated by an Islamic cleric, who is an accused in the sex racket, by referring to him as a 'Tantrik'.

NBSA orders AajTak to apologise live on October 27 for spreading fake news on Sushant Singh Rajput case

The NBSA had earlier asked Aaj Tak to pay a fine of Rs 1 lakh and had asked the broadcaster to air an apology admitting on national television that it did not conduct the due diligence required prior to telecasting the tweets.

Pakistan fumes over reports of Saudi denying permission for ‘Kashmir Black Day’ program after it voted against it at FATF

After certain media reports suggested that Saudi Arabia had voted against Pakistan at the FATF plenary keeping it in grey list, the Arab nation has now reportedly denied Pakistan permission to hold 'Kashmir Black Day' on 27th October.

Connect with us

245,563FansLike
467,593FollowersFollow
19,100SubscribersSubscribe