IMD may soon get additional sets of weather observations through AMDAR
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New Delhi: The India Meteorological Department (IMD) may soon get additional sets of weather observations through AMDAR that can help improve forecast accuracy, particularly when early warning systems are proving to be important in view of increasing instances of extreme weather events.

The AMDAR or the Aircraft Meteorological Data Relay is available for every flight landing or take-off from an airport with the aircraft sensor recording the air temperature, wind speed, direction, barometric pressure, water vapour and transmitting the data to the ground stations.

These reports, available with meteorological departments worldwide, contribute up to 10 percent in the impact of the numerical prediction model and play a key role in reducing errors in 24-hour forecasts. The other sources of information for the prediction models include the atmospheric data gathered from weather balloons, sea surface temperatures from buoys anchored in the high seas and weather stations across the country.

“Nearly 20-30 percent of the received aircraft observations are assimilated into the numerical weather prediction models,” a senior weather scientist told PTI.

Officials said the issue of the missing link in weather observations was flagged at the level of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), which set in motion a series of actions to make available the crucial data to the weather office.

A senior official said it was mandatory for airlines worldwide to transmit the AMDAR data for meteorological use, but the same was not available to the IMD for various reasons.

On July 1, the Noida-based National Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting, which houses the super-computers of the weather office, received over 18,000 AMDAR reports from around the world, but just 55 from the region over India.

Following the PMO’s intervention, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has now placed orders from the trans-receivers at various airports to relay the AMDAR reports over India to the weather office.

Similarly, domestic carriers also send very few Aircraft Reports (AIREP), which are automated reports of in-flight weather conditions such as wind and temperature, to the weather office.

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