India Uncut

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Saturday, August 06, 2005

A vortex in the Met Department

This was cross-posted on Cloudburst Mumbai.

A few days back S R Kalsi, the additional director general of meteorology, had forecast in an interview that we took rather seriously that there would be heavy rains "any time on or after August 5". Well, yesterday was August 5, and the weather's been a tease since then, often overcast, hardly drizzling. Could it be -- shock, horror -- that Mr Kalsi did not know what he was talking about? The Telegraph reports:
The meteorology experts, who had failed to predict last week’s deluge in Mumbai, today said they haven’t yet found out why it happened.

Still, at a post-mortem of the record 944 mm rain that traumatised the city on July 26, weather scientists tried to come up with a theory before science and technology minister Kapil Sibal. They said they suspect a meteorological condition called a “vortex” caused the freak rain.

They admitted they had no evidence for this.
Another excerpt from the article:
[Akhilesh] Gupta [a scientist] said the UK weather office did manage to predict 800 mm rain over Mumbai when it ran a computer model; but it could do this only after the event, using weather parameters after the downpour. “It could not predict the Mumbai rain in real time,” Gupta said. [My emphasis.]
All of this underscores how little we understand the weather, and how ludicrously inexact all these complex weather forecasting models are. And it amuses me that when we can barely predict the weather a week from now, we have environmentalists pontificating on weather changes that global warming will cause a century from now. How can one not be sceptical?
amit varma, 1:49 PM| write to me | permalink | homepage

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