‘Resource crunch’ behind unreliable weather forecasts

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, June 12:

Stress on strengthening DoHM.

Nepal’s weather forecasts are considered to be unreliable. Lack of research and development leads to unreliable forecasting, resulting in loss of hundreds of lives and property worth millions of rupees every year. Outdated equipment and limited resources are responsible for the repeated failure in forecasting the weather correctly. A workshop on ‘Basic Understanding of Hydrological and Meteorological Sciences’ organised by the Society of Hydrologists and Meteorologists Nepal (SOHAM) was organised here today. Hydrologists and meteorologists stressed on strengthening the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology (DoHM). “The government spends a huge amount of the budget on agriculture and irrigation, but a meagre amount is handed over to the DoHM which is unable to conduct research and development works. Moreover, the department lacks modern equipment and data which makes the job tougher, said Janak Lal Nayava, the SOHAM, Nepal chairman.

“Weather forecasts are needed more for aviation purposes in Nepal. In a country where about 80 per cent of the population depends on agriculture, there is a need to promote agro-climate forecasting,” he said. “Weather is capricious and predicting weather in a small zone makes the job tougher. Despite our limitations, our predictions are 75 per cent correct. In no part of the world, the accuracy is 100 per cent and 75 per cent is regarded excellent,” said KB Manandhar, senior meteorologist at the Metrological Forecasting Division. “It is difficult to predict weather changes. We do not have the Radio Sound Instrument and the RADAR for tracking the movement of clouds and winds which would make the forecasts more reliable,” Manandhar added. Inaugurating the workshop, Lok Man Singh Karki, the secretary of the Ministry of Information and Communications, stressed on tapping the potential of water resources in the country. “We have good manpower but we lack sophisticated equipment,” he said. Mohan Bahadur Karki, executive secretary of the Water and Energy Commission, said that thousands of lives and property worth millions could be saved if natural calamities can be predicted.