Aircraft may monitor tropical cyclones over India

Four-day conference on Indian Ocean tropical cyclones begins in Delhi

By Dinsa Sachan
Published: Tuesday 14 February 2012

India may use aircraft in the near future for cyclone detection. Shashidhar Reddy, vice-chairperson of the National Disaster management Authority, announced he’s going to make a recommendation in the 12th Five-Year Plan for aircraft monitoring of tropical cyclones. He was speaking at the second international conference on Indian Ocean tropical cyclones and climate change, organised by the India Meteorological Department in collaboration with World Meteorological Organisation. The four-day conference began in Delhi on February 14.

At present, India primarily relies on Doppler weather radars, scattered across the country’s coastline, to detect cyclones. The high-end technology involving aircraft, already in use in the US, tracks a developing storm by dropping sensors over it from an aircraft and makes predictions about where it’s going to land. The northern Indian ocean attracts the most devastating of tropical cyclones. It is estimated that 75 per cent of total cyclones occurring over the globe, which claims 5,000 or more human lives, have occurred over the northern Indian Ocean, which comprises the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, during past 300 years.

Shailesh Nayak, secretary with the Ministry of Earth Sciences, announced that 12 countries across the globe including India, Australia, USA, have joined forces to improve ocean observation. However, he stressed that collaboration is also needed for atmospheric observation, as cyclones are affected by both oceanic and atmospheric factors.

The conference will see climate and ocean scientists from across the world present new developments in the field of cyclone detection and the latest understanding of the relationship between the changing climate and occurrence of tropical cyclones.

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