New Delhi: K. J. Ramesh, senior advisor to the Ministry of Earth Sciences, took over as the new director-general of India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Monday. The senior scientist has taken over IMD’s reins of around the time the ministry of earth sciences has unveiled its vision for the next 15 years.

One of the most important priorities for the IMD is to increase the accuracy of its weather forecasting models, especially during the four-month monsoon season, which still swings the fate of agriculture and the Indian economy.

Ramesh has been an advisor to the ministry of earth sciences on atmospheric sciences and climate since 2007. Prior to that worked at the National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting. He holds a Ph.D in numerical modelling from Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, and specializes in atmospheric sciences.

The senior scientist has worked with the government on disaster mitigation and management along with climate change and as a scientist for the Department of Science Technology was also a part of a working group on Disaster Management for the Planning Commission. “He represented the Ministry of Earth Sciences in all climate change-related negotiations since he became the advisor," said Shailesh Nayak, former secretary, ministry of earth sciences.

Ramesh is taking over from L.S. Rathore who specialized in agricultural meteorology and will be leading the IMD as it prepares to shift to a new forecasting model next year. The dynamical weather forecasting model, which is expected to be a more accurate, will shift the IMD from a model it has been using for more than 100 years.

“The Ministry has prepared a mission document for 2030 and the new IMD chief will also work on mission mode. He is highly qualified as a meteorologist and in the last nine years has also been a programme director in the ministry for the IMD and has also led several disaster management initiatives," said M. Rajeevan, secretary, ministry of earth sciences.

Under the Vision 2030 document unveiled by the ministry of earth sciences, the IMD will also aim to set up atmospheric observational network at 25x25 km grid and upper air observations at 100x100 km, along with a system of Multi-platform Satellite and air-craft based profiler observations, doppler radars, wind profilers, radiometers and lightning detectors. the IMD is also working on developing an Advanced Weather Prediction System for block level forecasts, skillful for next three-five days and develop advisories for sectors for like agriculture, disaster management, water resources, power, tourism and pilgrimage, smart cities, renewable energy sector and transport.

“Investigations on tele-connectors such as Arctic, Antarctic and the role of oceans in the Indian monsoon need to be further investigated. At the same time, focus will be on improving services, forecast of thunderstorms and lightning," said Nayak.

For climate change, the ministry of earth sciences in the next 15 years is aiming to develop an Advanced Regional Climate Services Framework to facilitate agriculture, water resources, alternate energy resources and health on predictions of climate variability.

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