Days after the state of West Bengal and Odisha came under the effect of cyclone Amphan, parts of Maharashtra and Gujarat have been hit by cyclone Nisarga. No administration can stop nature’s fury; however, it can predict and take precautions so that lives can be saved and damages be minimized.
India in recent times has been spot on in predicting the cyclones, including the two mentioned above. Though the damages to crops and properties are unavoidable every time a cyclone unfolds, the predictions by Indian Meteorological Department have saved many lives in recent times. Their predictions provided a window for the states and local administration to undertake necessary evacuations. International institutions have also acknowledged India’s ability in recent times in predicting cyclones.
The Capacity Building
The quality of weather services have shown remarkable improvements over the past few years. Specifically, noticeable improvements have been achieved in prediction skills of heavy rainfall and tropical cyclones.
The track forecast error during 2014-17 has been 89, 142, 207 km against 125, 202, 268 km during 2007-13 for 24, 48 and 72 hrs lead period respectively. The period during 2014-17 registered a decrease in track forecast error by 29, 30 & 23% as compared to 2007-13 for 24, 48 and 72 hours lead period respectively.
In 2018, a very high resolution (12 km) state of the art Global Ensemble Prediction Systems (EPS) was commissioned. The resolution (12 km) of the EPS is the highest amongst all the operational global operational weather forecast centres in the world. The Ensemble forecasts enhance the weather information being provided by the current models by quantifying the uncertainties in the weather forecasts and generate probabilistic forecasts.
As the cyclone Nisarga hits the two states and landfall is being reported, just recall the various cyclones that have bothered India in recent five years. Vardha, Fani, Hudhud, Mekunu, Luban, Titli are some of the names of cyclone in this period. Each time, timely prediction and explanations from the analysts and scientists working in the domain of meteorology saved thousands of lives in India.
Testimonies Reflected in Media Reports
The fact that India’s cyclone prediction ability has increased in the recent years has been reflected in various media reports from time to time. Let’s go through some of them which tell a story of their own in post-2014 dateline.
So, at a time when we are witnessing back to back cyclones hitting the country, one may take a note of the efforts of scientists and the present administration which aiding them. These collective efforts are saving thousands of lives.