Meteorology Current Affairs - 2019

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RIMES terms Titli cyclone ‘rarest of rare’

Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System (RIMES) for Africa and Asia has termed ‘Titli’, the severe cyclonic storm that devastated Odisha in October 2018 as ‘rarest cyclone’. Earlier, India Meteorological Department (IMD) had called formation of Titli as ‘rarest of rare’ occurrence after this severe cyclone had changed its path after making landfall.

Key Facts

According to RIMES, Titli cyclone is rarest of rare in more than 200 years of cyclone track history in Odisha coast and also elsewhere. Its rare features were in terms of its characteristics such as recurvature after landfall, retaining its destructive potential after landfall and recurvature away from coastal areas for more than two days. Due to its rare features, forecast information lacked actionable early warning information such as no indication of occurrence of secondary hazards, including landslides far away from the coasts especially in interior districts of Odisha. Due to this, Odisha State Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA) had faced challenges in anticipating and managing Titli’s impact due to lack of impact-based actionable early warning information and prior experience. By learning lessons from Titli cyclone, measures can be evolved to minimise impacts in both coastal and non-coastal regions more effectively in future.

Suggestion

RIMES has recommended that detailed risk assessment has to be carried out for Odisha to understand the risks in light of the Titli devastation. At present, State government actions linked to cyclone-risk management are heavily focused on coastal areas where cyclones cross at their peak intensities. Therefore, coastal areas now have been largely well managed through evacuations and other protocols, leading to zero casualties in these areas.

Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System (RIMES)

It is intergovernmental body registered under United Nations. It is owned and managed by 45 collaborating countries in Asia Pacific and Africa Region. India is chairman of the body. It was established in 2009 and was registered with UN in July 2009. It operates from its regional early warning centre located at campus of Asian Institute of Technology in Pathumthani, Thailand. It has evolved from efforts of countries in Africa and Asia in aftermath of 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

Mandate

It seeks to establish regional early warning system within multi-hazard framework for generation and communication of early warning information and capacity building for preparedness and response to trans-boundary hazards. It provides information related to Tsunami and extreme weather conditions. It also acts as a test bed for emerging technologies and help to enhance performance.

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Impact Based Forecasting Approach: IMD develops technology to assess rise of water level in rivers

India Meteorological Department (IMD) has developed new technology called ‘Impact Based Forecasting Approach’ to assess rise of water level in rivers and reservoirs by rain.  It shows pre-event scenario will help state governments authorities to minutely monitor impact of rainfall and take real-time decisions. It will help to avoid disastrous situation similar to Kerala floods. It can generate scenario to help take decisions to release water or not from reservoirs after heavy downpour. It will be helpful for every state authority to take decision. This system can be run in pre-event scenario.

Background

The heavy downpour which had ravaged Kerala in August 2018 had caused death of around 500 people and economic damages worth over Rs 40,000 crore. Excessive rainfall had led to floods in Kerala and was result of climate change. State Government had blamed IMD for lapses in its part for wrong rain forecast. IMD had forecasted estimated 98.5 mm rain in the state between 9 and 15 August, 2018 but Kerala received was 352.2 mm of rainfall resulting in severe flooding.

India Meteorological Department (IMD)

It is national meteorological service of the country and chief government agency dealing in everything related to meteorology, seismology and associated subjects. It was formed in 1875. It functions under Ministry of Earth Sciences. It is headquartered in New Delhi.

Mandate

  • Undertake meteorological observations and provide current information and forecasting information for most favorable operation of weather-dependent activities such as irrigation, agriculture, aviation, shipping etc.
  • Offer warning against severe weather phenomenon such as tropical cyclones, norwesters, dust storms, heat waves, cold waves, heavy rains, heavy snow, etc.
  • Provide met-related statistics needed for agriculture, industries, water resources management, oil exploration, and any other strategically important activities for the country.
  • Engage in research in meteorology and allied subjects.
  • Detect and locate earthquakes and evaluate of seismicity in various parts of the country for developmental projects.

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