Nepal to upgrade weather forecasting system

Kathmandu, January 1

The government is going to upgrade its 72-hour based old short-range weather forecasting system to numeric weather prediction system by 2018.

The Department of Hydrology and Meteorology is installing weather radar and radiosonde balloons at the earliest with the aim of making weather forecasting 100 per cent accurate .

According to DHM, out of three weather radars, the import and installation process of one has already begun; while the process of the other two, in Udayapur and Palpa is yet to begin.

Director General of DHM, Rishi Ram Sharma assured that either all three radars or at least one will begin operation by 2018.

“We are all set to install and operate at least one radar and radiosonde balloon station by 2018 or if possible earlier than that,” he told The Himalayan Times.

“The government has no option but to upgrade weather forecasting system as we are preparing to jump to numeric weather prediction from the currently applied subjective trend.” He said there will be drastic change in two years after adding Radar and Radiosonde Balloons.

Weather radar, also called weather surveillance radar is used to locate precipitation, calculate its motion, and estimate the type of rain, snow and hail.

Weather radars are capable of detecting the motion of rain droplets in addition to the intensity of the precipitation. Radiosons are carried aloft by balloons to measure and simultaneously transmit recorded data, which includes pressure, temperature and humidity.

Winds are determined by using an instrument that tracks the radio signal transmitted from the radiosonde, or an inertial navigation system that transmits accelerations, or a GPS (Global Position Satellite) receiver that transmits the radiosonde’s locations.

For the installation of radiosonde station to fly balloons, the government has allotted land in Kirtipur. All the equipment was donated by the Indian government in July 2016 and they were brought to Nepal in the same month.

The radiosonde is attached to a hydrogen-filled balloon, generally called a weather balloon, and the balloon lifts the radiosonde to altitudes exceeding 115,000 feet. During the radiosonde’s ascent, it transmits data on temperature, pressure, and humidity to a sea, air, or land-based receiving station.

Though most of the countries have applied High Performance Computer Modelling System, which gives up to 100 per cent accurate weather forecasts, Nepal has been relying on just 72 hours short-range forecasting since long.

The meteorology short-range forecasting system gives up to three days weather prediction. There are three types of weather prediction systems widely used to forecast weather from a small place to a global level.

Europe, America, Australia, China and most of the countries use long-range weather prediction system, which collects data by using High Performance Computer Modelling System.

Long-range system gives weather forecasts up to three months and a season. Similarly, medium-range prediction gives data for 10 days. And short-range prediction forecasts the data for three days.

Weather expert Mani Ratna Sakya said Nepal and Bhutan are the only two countries that use short-range weather prediction due to lack of advanced technology.

He said giving less importance to weather forecasting has resulted in inaccurate forecast system.