‘Satellites to crunch Met data on board'

Vinson Kurian Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on January 29, 2011

To be very effective for applications such as cyclone tracking

Meteorological data processing will increasingly be carried out on-board satellites, and various satellite products will be disseminated directly to end users.

This is expected to reduce the time from meteorological observation to dissemination, according to Dr P. K. Srivastava, President, India Meteorological Society, Ahmedabad, and a Deputy Director with the Space Applications Centre there.


These type of on-board data processing models will be very effective for applications such as cyclone tracking, Dr Srivastava said in a paper presented on the occasion of celebration of the 50th year of satellite meteorology in India.

Requirements of geographical information system-compatible meteorology products are emerging and such data helps in applications such as improved flood warnings, cyclone tracking and disaster management.

High-speed computers provide capability for on-the-fly real time data processing. With high-speed wireless connectivity, it is now possible to disseminate meteorological data and information to mobile users.

Computers have also helped in quick dissemination of meteorological data to end users.


Web-based dissemination has helped in providing data to large set of users. Web services are the emerging technology, which provides software to discover and access meteorological data over the Web.

Developments in computer graphics and visualisation techniques have been adapted in meteorology for tracking cyclones, generating contour plots and weather charts. Generation of animations from a set of satellite images helps in visualising the movement of cloud systems. 3D visualisation of clouds helps in displaying a 3D view of clouds.

Computers have played a very important role in satellite meteorology for processing and timely delivery of information to end users.


Computer evolutions are governed by Moore's law, which states that the transistor density on integrated circuits doubles every two years. “We have seen the development of computers have followed the Moore's law, but there is a theoretical limit on its applicability,” Dr Srivastava said.

So people have started looking into a different aspect, where, rather than concentrating on raw speed, the emphasis is on how to make computers more intelligent.


Supercomputers have been used by meteorologists for understanding the process of cyclone genesis and for predicting the track of cyclones.

Published on January 28, 2011

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