Delhi gets high-end radar for storm detection

C-band Doppler radar can identify type of precipitation and determine intensity of winds, useful for detecting storms

The country has got its first weather instrument that can predict storms. The C-band Doppler radar was installed and inaugurated in Delhi by Ashwani Kumar, minister of state in the ministry of science and technology and earth science, on the occasion of India Meteorological Department or IMD's 137th foundation day on January 16.

Doppler radars, which rely on the Doppler effect, are useful tools for regular weather surveillance. IMD adopted radar technology in the 1950’s. Currently, the department has a network of 40 Doppler Weather Radars (DWR) across its various stations in the country, which include S-band radars for cyclone detection, X-band radars for storm detection and several multiple-purpose radars.

IMD is currently using a S-band Doppler weather radar to collect data of real-time weather information over Delhi. S K Kundu, scientist and deputy director general of meteorology (upper air instruments) with IMD, Delhi, says “A C-band Doppler radar goes a step above the S-band Doppler weather radar and gives additional information. It can identify the type of precipitation—whether it’s rain, hail or snow. It can also determine the intensity of winds. This will be useful in detecting storms over the Delhi area.”

India has purchased two C-band Doppler weather radars. The second will be installed in Jaipur soon. Speaking at the event, Kumar said, “The emphasis on 'nowcasting' (forecasting weather the next six hours) based on Doppler weather radar is very recent and yet to establish as an area of service. It would imply a real time engagement with the dissemination system directly reaching out to the citizens and user groups. Severe weather warning over very specific locations is the target of nowcasting.”

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