Vinson Kurian

Thiruvananthapuram, Jan. 30

THE National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF) is organising a two-day international brainstorming meeting on `Modelling and prediction over Indian monsoon region: Vision 2015' in New Delhi on February 1 and 2.

To be held at its campus at Noida, the deliberations will see a large number of leading scientists and scientific managers from premier modelling and research centres from India and abroad participate, Dr Swati Basu, Director, NCMRWF, told Business Line.

The meeting aims to review the current status of forecasting capabilities and also to develop a roadmap for providing more accurate weather prediction. Another aim is to bring synergy in efforts being made by various centres in the country engaged in related activities. Another major initiative will be to bring out a "vision document" on improving the Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) guidance for weather forecasting over the Indian monsoon region.

Prof V.S. Ramamurthy, Secretary, Department of Science & Technology, Government of India, will inaugurate the meeting.

He will also formally launch the NCMRWF initiative to make available on its Web site district level forecasts of meteorological parameters (maximum/minimum temperature, wind speed and direction, rainfall, humidity fields and surface pressure field) for the benefit of the general public and different sectors of economy. There has been a pressing demand for such a product for quite some time.

NCMRWF proposes to felicitate Prof Ramamurthy on his being awarded Padma Bhushan. Another eminent scientist of Indian origin, Prof Jagdish Shukla, currently working as President, Institute of Global Environment and Society in the US, will also participate in the meeting.

He was recently awarded the CG Rossby Award, considered the Nobel equivalent in the field of meteorology. Both Prof Ramamurthy and Prof Shukla have played important roles in the growth of NCMRWF into a centre of excellence.

The meeting is very significant in terms of its theme as well as the timing, Dr Basu said. There has been a boom in various sectors of economy in recent times. The demand for raised awareness about the impact the weather has on these sectors calls for more accurate and customised forecasts.

The country has suffered two severe droughts in three years and the Government has decided to take urgent steps about improving the quality of the forecasts over various spatial and temporal ranges.

At present, NCMRWF is the only centre that has an end-to-end system for generating global and regional meteorological forecasts using sophisticated mathematical models (or NWP) and the required high end computing resources to carry out the task.

The centre has taken up the task of not only developing the strategy and the roadmap for bringing about the desired improvement in quality of forecasts but also customising them for various sectors/user agencies. The international brainstorming session is part of this strategy, Dr Basu said.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated January 31, 2005)
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