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New Marathi Article by Dr Ranjan Kelkar

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An article in Marathi entitled “Monsoon Samjoon Gheuya” by Dr Ranjan Kelkar was published in the newspaper Agrowon dated 29 June 2017. 

170629 Article Agrowon Monsoon Progress

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“Satellite Meteorology” Second Edition

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sat-met-2-cover

Prof R R Kelkar’s book “Satellite Meteorology” Second Edition is now available.  

View table of contents, text of first chapter, author’s biodata and other details on the web site of the publishers BS Publications

Order the book from the co-publishers CRC Press

Buy the book from amazon.in

Where are you going, Nilofar?

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nilifar

nilofar track

The Kalpana-1 image of 26 October 2014 (2345 UTC) shows Cyclone Nilofar over the Arabian Sea. The graphic shows the cyclone track of the US Navy Joint Typhoon Warning Centre, Hawaii, as of 26 October 2014 (2100 UTC). 

This is a reminder from nature that not all cyclones are like Phailin or Hudhud. Many cyclones do not follow well-drawn paths that can be predicted 4 days in advance.

Nilofar’s track shows twists and turns. It has been moving slowly, keeping safe distance from all coasts. No one knows for sure where it would eventually make landfall or whether it may dissipate over the sea itself. In the present situation, whom can you warn and what can be the warning?

Nilofar, it seems to me, is deciding its own destiny!

 

Media’s Monsoon

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media monsoon

Every year India has a date with the monsoon. The date is always 1 June, but the monsoon usually comes either earlier or later. This year it came on 6 June. Soon after IMD made the official announcement, PTI reported that “four days after missing its date with the country, the crucial south west monsoon has finally hit Kerala.” The onset of the monsoon was perhaps a hit-or-miss affair!

The India Today web site was charting the future course of the monsoon with great confidence. It said, “Monsoon arrives in Kerala, find out when it is reaching you.” It seemed to know the inner workings of the monsoon system more than anyone else!

Livemint.com held a negative view. It said that the progress northwards is expected to be slow and monsoon is unlikely to cover half the nation by the first half of June. Like the glass which can be half full or half empty!

The Wall Street Journal announced that the Monsoon had arrived over the Indian “mainland”, a word more familiar to Americans. It also quoted the Director General of IMD as saying that “the monsoon has finally arrived but it is currently moving at a slow pace as the parameters that support its progress are either weaker than their normal positions or not properly placed.” Whatever that may mean, WSJ hastened to add that “a weak monsoon could push up food prices and with it inflation, testing the new government’s ability to promote economic growth.”

The Hindu had mixed its metaphors quite thoroughly, reporting earlier in the day that the monsoon was about to make “landfall any time now”. Its special correspondent also added that the monsoon was “sailing in on weak tailwinds.” Is it a cyclone? Is it a plane? Is it a ship?

I had never imagined that the monsoon could be so vicious, but the Hindu also said that “the Andaman territory had come under the spell of the monsoon”.

The Free Press Journal, Mumbai, had a different story. “Monsoon set to catch up with city on June 10”, it announced. As if the city of Mumbai was moving northwards and the monsoon was racing it out with all speed.

And there was a man-made storm as well! On 4 June, Economic Times reported that “a storm is brewing over the onset of monsoon”! Not over the ocean as one may think, but with private forecaster Skymet declaring that it had spotted the monsoon and IMD maintaining that it had not!

The last word, however, was that of a Marathi news channel. It said that the Bay of Bengal had held the monsoon captive all these days, but finally the monsoon had managed to escape from its grip!

Cyclone Madi, an Aimless Wanderer

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Source: IMD web site

INSAT-3D Image 8 Dec 2013 0230 UTC (Source: IMD web site)

After Phailin, Helen, and Lehar, it is now Madi, the fourth successive cyclone to form in the Bay of Bengal in eight weeks. Cyclone Phailin had a straight line path and the landfall point could be predicted well in advance. There was enough time for a massive evacuation drive to be executed and for TV camera teams to place themselves at Gopalpur to give a live account of the arrival of the storm.

Helen was a much weaker storm and it had a shorter track as well. Lehar was another severe cyclonic storm. But it was different from Phailin. It looked as if Lehar was hesitant to strike the coast. Eventually it adopted a self-destructive path, went into cooler seas, and ended in a whimper far away from land. Lehar was like a left-over Diwali phataka (loud cracker) that failed to burst.

As I write this post on 8 December 2013, Madi is a cyclonic storm over the Bay of Bengal, and it is currently threatening no one in particular. As a BBC World News weathercaster put it, Madi is aimlessly wandering. Weather prediction models are not able to predict for sure where Madi is heading or what is going to happen to it. It is even said to be in quasi-stationary motion for whatever that means.

I have always felt that every cyclone has a mind of its own. So for meteorologists, cyclone prediction still largely remains a guessing game. As for the modelers, every new cyclone only brings an old message that they yet have a long way to go… 

Ek “Lehar” si utthi hai abhi

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lehar

If winter comes, can spring be far behind? If Helen comes and goes, can Lehar be far behind?

On 22 November 2013, as cyclone Helen made landfall on the Indian coast, another storm was seen brewing in the southeastern corner of the Bay of Bengal (Satellite image source: IMD web site) If this system develops into a full-fledged cyclone, it would be named “Lehar” as per the naming system in vogue. It could take a long time for Lehar to reach the Indian coast, if it does indeed. In the mean time, the name reminds me of an old ghazal written by Mohammed Abdul Quadeer and sung by Ghulam Ali in 1981. Singing in his inimitable style, Ghulam Ali had told us how life is made worth living by breezes of freshness in the midst of turbulent waves.

Dil mein ek lehar si utthi hai abhi
Koi taaza hawa chali hai abhi…

Waqt accha bhi aaye ga
Gham na kar zindagi pari hai abhi

(There’s a wave rising in my heart
There’s a fresh breeze blowing now…
But good times will return, so don’t be sad,
There’s a whole life to live even now…)

As we watch cyclones come and go, we may as well spend some time listening to Ghulam Ali at
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNei7lSZZaY

 

“India Weather”: a new IMD web site

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The India Meteorological Department seems to be designing a new web site named “India Weather”. On the IMD site imd.gov.in one can click on the link to India Weather.

The new site is stylish and nice to look at. Here is a screen shot taken on 7 October 2013 morning.

India Weather

 

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