India to develop model to give flash floods warning to Asian nations: WMO

World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has designated India as nodal centre for developing customized model to issue advance warning of floods to Asian countries, including Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Thailand. The model will be called as Flash Flood Guidance System. Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) under Ministry of Earth Sciences will work to customize this weather model.

Flash Flood Guidance System

The model will provide forecasts by computing likelihood of rainfall and soil moisture levels to warn of possible floods. It will carry out forecasts by using combination of satellite mapping and ground-based observation. It will be customized weather model, originally developed by US and donated to WMO to warn about flash floods at least six hours in advance. It already has carried out test version of this model. Pakistan was among list of beneficiary countries of this forecast model, but it has refused to participate in it.

Background

Like India, several southeast Asian countries depend on monsoon and are prone to its vagaries. WMO estimates that flash floods account for 85% of flooding incidents across the world, leading to around 5,000 deaths every year. While science to warn of floods can be developed, India was yet to work out how exactly it will warn countries of potential inundation. India currently has its own warning system for tsunamis that also doubles up warning system for several Asian countries. At present in India, Central Water Commission (CWC), which monitors dams, warns of rising water levels in water reservoirs, which are usually taken to be signs of imminent floods. Recently CWC has recently tied up with internet giant Google to develop software application to visualise rising water levels during heavy rains.

World Meteorological Organization (WMO)

WMO is an intergovernmental organization whose mandate covers weather, climate and water resources. It is UN specialized agency for meteorology, operational hydrology and related geophysical sciences It is dedicated to international cooperation and coordination on state and behaviour of Earth’s atmosphere, its interaction with land and oceans, the weather and climate and distribution of water resources. It has 191 Member States and Territories. It originated from International Meteorological Organization (IMO), which was founded in 1873. It has its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

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