Weather experts express need for AWS enhancement to study flash flood events
Recently on May 29, Chinchwad recorded 48.5 mm of rainfall; whereas on June 1, Dudulagaon in Moshi recorded 59 mm rainfall and Bhor recorded 58.5 mm of rainfall in just one hour
With Pune district increasingly experiencing flash flood-like situations over the past three to four years, weather experts and Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) scientists have expressed the need for enhancement of automatic weather stations (AWSs) so as to get real-time local weather data to study these occurrences.
Recently on May 29, Chinchwad recorded 48.5 mm of rainfall; whereas on June 1, Dudulagaon in Moshi recorded 59 mm rainfall and Bhor recorded 58.5 mm of rainfall in just one hour. The rainfall triggered waterlogging and traffic chaos and even felling of trees and power cuts in some areas, causing inconvenience to the citizens.
Vineet Kumar, a former scientist with IITM, said, “We need more AWSs as thunderstorm rains are highly localised so the quantity of rain can vary significantly over a few kilometres. Also, the radar images need to be updated every 10 minutes. Currently, the IMD radar updates after 10 minutes or sometimes 30 minutes. But once the AWS network is strengthened, it will enhance real-time monitoring of the thunderstorm cloud movement. The nowcast warnings can be further enhanced and their frequency needs to be increased and should be more area-specific.”
The climatological data is another difficulty when it comes to studying local weather conditions. Currently, data is available for Shivajinagar and Pashan monitoring stations. However, it requires in-depth research on whether or not some areas in the city are more prone to frequent heavy thunderstorms, Kumar said.
K S Hosalikar, head of climate research and services, IMD Pune, said, “Currently, the district has an adequate weather observation network however we do feel that more is better. We are also planning to enhance the monitoring network with more AWSs. A survey is underway about the existing network and under the ‘Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana’, plans are afoot to develop the weather network at the Gram Panchayat level.”
“However, the major challenge in buttressing the AWS network is the availability of land. The stations require certain standards and it is difficult to get land that matches the required standards. Many times, there are hilly areas that lack open spaces. Sometimes, even if we get the space, the owner refuses to let us set up the station there. These are some of the challenges that we are facing but we will overcome them soon and the network will be enhanced so that more area-specific data can be acquired,” Hosalikar said.
Current weather observation network in Pune
Automatic Rain Gauges (ARGs) - 18
Automatic Weather Stations (AWSs) -12
Surface Observatories - 3
AWSs for local forecasts - 3
Total - 36