Ladakh gets its own meteorological centre

Union Territory of Ladakh gets its own meteorological centre

At 3,500 metres, this meteorological centre is the highest such facility in India

Union Earth Sciences Minister Harsh Vardhan inaugurated the facility. Credit: PTI file photo.

A meteorological centre was inaugurated in the Union Territory of Ladakh on Tuesday which would provide localised weather forecasts thus strengthening weather-related early warning system for the region.

At 3,500 metres, this meteorological centre is the highest such facility in India, Union Earth Sciences Minister Harsh Vardhan said at the inauguration of the facility.

He said it will provide short range (three days,) medium range (12 days) and long range (one month) forecast for the two districts -- Leh and Kargil -- of the Union Territory.

The region is unique in terms of weather, climate, culture, topography with extreme temperatures, ranging from minus 40 degrees Celsius in Drass to scanty average precipitation of 10 centimetres annually, which makes the region a distinct cold desert, he said.

Ladakh also experiences various kinds of extreme weather events like cloud bursts, flash floods, glacial lake outbursts, avalanches and drought.

"To avert losses due to such weather events in the future, the Government of India felt the need to establish a meteorological Centre at Leh to strengthen weather-related early warning system in Ladakh. At 3,500 metres, Meteorological Centre, Leh, will be the highest meteorological centre in India," Vardhan said.

The centre will also give weather forecasts about tourist places such as Nubra, Changthang, Pangong Lake, Zanskar, Kargil, Drass, Dha-Baima (Aryan valley), Khalsi, he said.

Some important services are highway forecast, forecast for mountaineering, trekking, agriculture, flash flood warning, information on gusty winds, low and high temperatures.

"Keeping in mind the geo-strategic importance, harsh environment, changing climate and vulnerabilities to various natural hazards and disasters affecting the region adversely, the government felt the need to open a state-of-the-art meteorological centre in Leh," the Union Minister added.

IMD Director General Mrutunjay Mohapatra said the new centre will help augment the weather services.

Ladakh has four Automatic Weather Stations (AWS), two each in Leh and Kargil, of which one is at Drass, the coldest place in India.

To improve the network of observations, IMD plans to install more AWSs next year at the remotest of places like Nubra, Zanskar, Changthang, Parkachik and others, thus covering the whole of Ladakh, Mohapatra said.

To begin with, the India Meteorological Department established a surface observatory at Leh for reporting daily meteorological parameters like pressure, humidity, temperature, snowfall, etc. With the availability of quality data from Ladakh, IMD will generate city-specific forecasts based on numerical models, the MeT department said.

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