April 04 2020
Rainfall measurement goes automatic
06 February 2012

The city will soon get 10 automated rain gauge (ARG) stations providing location-specific weather data. Equipped to measure humidity, rainfall and temperature, they will help make accurate forecasts, specifying the rainfall variability in different parts of greater Chennai. The city will become the third metropolis after Delhi and Mumbai to get these stations. 

The modernization programme of the Regional Meteorological Department (MET), part of a larger India Meteorological Department (IMD) project, plans to have at least two Automated Weather Stations (AWS) and four ARG stations in all districts in five years. Working on installing 72 ARGs across the state, including at Anna University campus and Taramani in Chennai, is on. 

MET director Y E A Raj said the accuracy of weather analysis and predictions was expected to improve. "In a large urban environment like Chennai, there are variations in temperature, humidity and rainfall in different areas. Compared to Nungambakkam, Meenambakkam is always hotter. The weather stations, controlled by a satellite-based system will help analyse the weather variations in a region," he said. The ARG stations will provide Chennaiites with accurate information of the weather, helping them plan their routines. 

The automated weather stations will help identify in advance the weather in areas prone to extreme climatic conditions to ensure that precautions can be taken. 

At present, "three manual rain gauge stations are being operated from Anna University, the DGP's office and Taramani in Chennai. The new ARG stations will transmit data directly to the INSAT-3A satellite and the Earth Station in Pune will analyse the information for different regions," said B Amutha, meteorologist, MET, Chennai. While data from manual stations is collected by spot visits by staff, the advantage of the automated system, she said, would be hourly data collection and instant transmission by satellite. "This will give an accurate picture of weather and its changes instantly," Amutha said. 

Of the 1,350 ADG stations planned in the country by year-end, about 400 have been commissioned. 

Tamil Nadu will have at least one AWS and two ARG stations in every district by the end of the year. 

The IMD also plans to increase the number of agro-AWSs in the state. "Agro-AWSs have sensors for measuring soil temperature, soil moisture, leaf wetness, leaf temperature and radiation. In addition, they will have sensors for air temperature, relative humidity, rainfall, atmospheric pressure, wind speed and wind direction which an AWS will normally have," said Amutha. 

10 ARG stations in Chennai 

Chembarambakkam Avadi Hindustan University Campus Padur Puzhal Kolapakkam Kattupakkam Sathyabhama University Campus Anna University Campus Poonamallee Taramani



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