The much-awaited second Doppler Weather Radar (DWR) for Mumbai was finally commissioned on Friday. The C-band DWR in Mumbai’s western suburbs has been commissioned will rid redundancy that occurs when the only one existing doppler radar is under maintenance and will bring more accuracy in tracking severe and extreme weather events, especially thunderstorms, lightning, squalls and heavy rainfall, said officials of India Meteorological Department's (IMD) Regional Meteorological
“Having two radars will be helpful for better, accurate and continuous monitoring. This C-band radar at Mumbai will facilitate a better understanding and monitoring of weather systems, hydrological applications, flood warnings and other severe weather events. It will also help in increasing the accuracy of numerical weather predictions models," said Jayanta Sarkar, scientist and head of IMD Mumbai.
Sarkar added: "This DWR helps particularly in times of extreme weather events like cyclones and associated heavy rainfall. We already have an S-band Doppler Radar at Colaba, the one commissioned on Friday is a C band DWR. Doppler radar is crucial for gauging the intensity of rainfall and impact areas in the city in real-time. Having two will help end redundancy, when one of two is under maintenance and not functional, we can use the images and feeds from another one. "
The S-band radar, installed in 2010 at the Regional Meteorological Centre in Colaba in South Mumbai, was down and no functional a day before Severe Cyclonic Storm ‘Nisarga’ that passed by the Mumbai coast on June 2, 2020. Then, in June and July 2019, when the city witnessed extremely heavy rainfall, the Doppler radar was dysfunctional on both days due to technical difficulties IMD officials had said. It was also not functioning on December 4, 2017, when Cyclone Ockhi passed by the Mumbai coast, allegedly providing images that were "delayed", "inaccurate" images.
The C-band radar, which has a coverage area of 450 km around Mumbai, will be were virtually inaugurated by Dr Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, and Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on the occasion of 147th IMD Foundation Day celebration on Friday.
This C-band radar commissioned in Mumbai is fully indigenous, designed and developed by a team of radar experts of
Indian Space and Research Organisation (ISRO) Telemetry Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC), Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). It has been manufactured by M/S Data Patterns, Chennai.
Mahesh Palawat, vice-president of Skymet Weather, a private weather forecaster said that even has Mumbai has now got two Doppler radars there is a need to cover the west coast of India which has weak weather monitoring despite some areas being vulnerable to severe weather events. "Having two radars will help compare the images from the two to give out more accurate predictions and enable accurate monitoring of cloud movements. Surface rainfall intensity (SRI), a feature of the radar, helps to measure the speed of approaching clouds, height, the time in which the clouds will bring rain to the city, the amount of rainfall the approaching clouds hold and predict the precipitation accumulation This will help in issuing more localised alerts and which in turn will enable the local government to issue specific warnings about areas that may flood. European countries and Japan have better coverage and monitoring than in India as they have many doppler radars and more weather observatories. In our case, we do not have proper coverage of our entire west coast when many areas under Gujarat are vulnerable. We need at least one Doppler radar near the southern coast of central Gujarat more specifically somewhere between Mumbai and Bhuj another one between Mumbai and Goa.
Meanwhile, IMD is planning to get four X-Band radars, which have a surveillance radius of 100 km, to be strategically set up in different locations in the city to have spatial coverage of hyperlocal weather changes. The X band radars can better detect convective clouds and thunderclouds, which caused heavy rains in July 2005 leading to the deluge.