Ministry of Earth Sciences Current Affairs - 2019
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The India Meteorological Department (IMD) predicts near-normal monsoon, at 96% of long period average. IMD in its first stage operational forecast for the southwest monsoon season (June to September) rainfall has made the following predictions:
- The South-west monsoon seasonal (June to September) rainfall over the country as a whole is likely to be near normal.
- The monsoon seasonal (June to September) rainfall is likely to be 96% of the Long Period Average (LPA) with a model error of 5%.
- The LPA of the season rainfall over the country as a whole for the period 1951-2000 was 89 cm.
- Even though weak El Nino conditions are likely to prevail during the monsoon season its intensity is expected to be reduced in the later part of the season.
IMD will issue the second stage Monsoon-2019 Forecast during the first week of June 2019.
Monsoon Predictions are made using a set of algorithms and climate models, both analytical and numerical. Monsoon Mission, an initiative launched by the Ministry of Earth Sciences in 2017 has two state-of-the-art dynamical prediction systems for short range to medium, extended range and seasonal forecasts.
Meteorologists keep a track on five important parameters that can dictate the fate of India monsoon:
- The gradient in the sea surface temperatures between the North Atlantic and North Pacific Oceans.
- The sea surface temperature over the Equatorial Indian Ocean.
- Sea-level pressure in East Asia.
- Air temperature of the land surface in Northwest Europe.
- The heat content over Equatorial Pacific measured by its warm water volume.
Studies have proposed including various other indicators, such as surface pressure over the Arabian Sea, in such forecasting models to eliminate biases and to make the predictions accurate.
The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has released a bulletin highlighting the important features about the climatic conditions of 2018:
- India’s average mean monthly temperatures were “warmer than the normal” during all the months of the year except December.
- This more than normal mean monthly temperature is attributed to global warming.
- The annual mean surface air temperature averaged over the country in 2018 was +0.41 degree Celsius above (1981-2010 period) average.
- The year 2018 was the sixth warmest year on record since nationwide records commenced in 1901.
The other warmest years on record are 016 (+0.72 degree Celsius), 2009 (+0.56 degree Celsius), 2017 (+0.55 degree Celsius), 2010 (+0.54 degree Celsius) and 2015 (+0.42 degree Celsius), which are all recent years.
- The worrying factor is, 11 out of 15 warmest years were during the recent past 15 years (2004-2018) and overall 2018 was the sixth warmest year on record since nationwide records commenced in 1901.
- India recorded 1,428 deaths in 2018 due to extreme weather events and heavy rains and subsequent flooding, dust storms, thunderstorms and lightning claimed half the lives.
- Cyclones Titli and Gaja killed almost 122 people.
India Meteorological Department (IMD)
India Meteorological Department (IMD) is the chief government agency for meteorological services in the country. Formed in 1875, IMD functions under Ministry of Earth Sciences and is headquartered in New Delhi. It deals with everything related to meteorology, seismology and associated subjects like
- Undertaking meteorological observations and provide current information and forecasting information for most favourable operation of weather-dependent activities such as irrigation, agriculture, aviation, shipping etc.
- Offering warnings against severe weather phenomenon such as tropical cyclones, norwesters, dust storms, heat waves, cold waves, heavy rains, heavy snow, etc.
- Providing met-related statistics needed for agriculture, industries, water resources management, oil exploration, and any other strategically important activities for the country.
- Engaging in research in meteorology and allied subjects.
- Detecting and locating earthquakes and evaluate seismicity in various parts of the country for developmental projects.
From a modest beginning in 1875, IMD has progressively expanded its infrastructure for meteorological observations, forecasting and weather services. IMD was the first organisation in India to adopt a message switching computer to support its global data exchange.