The India Meteorological Department’s (IMD) radar network will now extend to the high altitudes of the Himalayas and the country’s Northeast. The move is announced days after China revealed its plan to expand its weather modification system.
In all, 10 radars will be deployed along the Himalayas,” said M Rajeevan, secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences during a virtual conference called ‘Weather and climate over the mountainous regions’, organized by the Indian Meteorological Society, Shillong chapter.
He further said that a similar radar system has been planned for the northeastern region, but did not divulge further details on it.
China’s State Council has recently announced its plan to expand the weather modification system which would enable it to control weather conditions. As reported by EurAsian Times, the system would cover a total area of 5.5 million square kilometers for artificial rainfall, which is about 1.5 times the size of India.
India and China are locked in a months-long border standoff in Eastern Ladakh. Their armies have pitched tents in the Himalayan ranges in the freezing weather. During the winter season, the Himalayan region is prone to severe weather events due to Western Disturbances. There is a risk of heavy snowfall and gale that could trigger avalanches.
During the virtual conference, IMD Director-General Mrutyunjay Mohapatra said the department may create an application focused on mountainous regions along with setting up a Regional Climate Centre to enable weather and climate data sharing with countries sharing the Himalayas.
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Mapping Himalayan Weather:
The Himalayas play a vital role in regulating the weather throughout India. The winds from the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal are confronted by the Himalayas. Hence, it makes it important to study the weather changes in the region to accurately predict the weather in the country.
Explaining the importance of weather understanding in the mountain ranges, Rajeevan said that the Himalayas, also known as the third pole, is warming up at a faster pace than the other polar regions due to global warming.
A quarter of the earth’s surface is covered with mountains and the same proportion of the world’s total populations live in the mountains, thus making it important to forecast the weather and climatic conditions, he added.
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Currently, there is inadequate data for weather modeling in the Himalayas, making it difficult to understand the region better. “We plan to install more snow gauges and surface instruments to meet the requirements,” he said.
In September, the Uttarakhand-based Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES) announced that the scientists have come up with estimates for turbulence parameters in the lower troposphere over the central Himalayan region, reported The Tribune. The report said that estimates would help in better weather predictions in the Himalayas and help in preventing air traffic accidents.