BHUBANESWAR: The India Meteorological Department (IMD) is all set to establish the country’s first thunderstorm research testbed at Balasore.Expected to be fully operational in next five years, the facility will aim to reduce fatalities and loss of property due to lightning strikes in Odisha and the eastern states.
DRDO Chandipur, ISRO Balasore and Bhubaneswar met office will jointly implement the project. The new facility will be developed at IMD’s observation centre in Balasore, Director General of Meteorology Dr Mrutyunjay Mohapatra told TNIE.Between 2011 and February 2020, about 3,218 people lost their lives in the State in lightning strikes. The IMD, Ministry of Earth Sciences, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) are jointly working on the project.
“The project is in the preliminary stage and once finalised, the research unit will be equipped with augmented observational systems like radar, wind profiler, microwave radiometer and automatic weather stations to study Nor’wester thunderstorms in Odisha, West Bengal, Jharkhand and Bihar,” Mohapatra said.According to IMD, current observation methods to study the characteristics of a thunderstorm, its growth, movement and the conditions leading to decaying of the storm is not adequate and need to be enhanced.
Advanced observational systems will also be installed in north Odisha, West Bengal and Jharkhand. Top academic institutes like IIT Bhubaneswar, IIT Kharagpur, Fakir Mohan University, NIT Rourkela, Maharaja Sriram Chandra Bhanja Deo University at Baripada, University of Calcutta and Birla Institute of Technology, Ranchi will be involved to conduct research on the data which will be shared to them by the testbed.