The Science Behind the Tamil Nadu Floods

The Indian state of Tamil Nadu experienced a series of floods this winter. The city of Chennai was flooded between November 13 and 17 and on December 1, 2015 which persisted well into the second week of December. District after district was inundated—Kanchipuram on December 5; Tirunelveli on December 7; and Thanjavur, Thiruvarur and Nagapattinam […]

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Surface Water Storage and Disasters

India is increasingly becoming an extreme weather event hotspot. From cold and heat waves to thunderstorms, hailstorms, dust storms, cyclones, droughts, floods and extreme rain episodes are causing heavy loss to life and property. Even dams, that were perceived as our saviours in preventing droughts and stemming floods, are emerging as killers—causing heavy erosion and […]

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Building on a Flood Plain and a Fault Zone

Delhi is fragile, especially at its seams, commonly known as the fault line. Designated in Zone IV, Delhi is situated atop three active seismic fault lines—Sohna, Mathura and Delhi-Moradabad. A cursory glance at the India Meteorology Department’s first level seismic hazard microzonation map of Delhi (Fig 1.) reveals a high hazard scenario in north, north-east […]

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Traditional Genius and Earthquakes

Just as other tectonically active regions of the world, Uttarakhand too has witnessed devastating earthquakes in 1720 (Kumaun Earthquake), 1803 (Garhwal Earthquake), besides the Uttarkashi and Chamoli earth-quakes in 1991 and 1999. Despite these, hundred year old multi-storied houses are common in the region. Barring cattle sheds, single storied structures are practically never built. Both […]

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Developing a Disaster Management Strategy

The April 25 Nepal disaster is yet another reminder for us to develop a sound policy for disaster preparedness strategy for the central Himalayan region. Being vulnerable to both floods and earthquakes, this region requires special attention. Special efforts need to be mounted to develop hazard scenarios and models using land zonation maps. Today’s computing […]

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Observational Network for Cyclones

The observational network for cyclone forecasting is aimed at continuous monitoring of the horizontal and vertical structure of the atmosphere. The latest advances in technology such as satellites, radar, and automated weather stations (AWS) provide invaluable support to the monitoring of tropical cyclones by the India Meteorological Department (IMD). The observational system Land and ocean […]

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Numerical Weather Prediction Techniques

Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) technique uses mathematical models of the atmosphere to predict weather based on current conditions. During the last two decades, weather forecasting all over the world has greatly benefited from NWP models. Significant improvement in accuracy and reliability of NWP products has been driven by sophisticated numerical techniques (advanced data assimilation algorithms, […]

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Disaster Management Perspectives: Learning from Phailin

According to the Fourth Assessment Report of the IPCC 2007, human utilisation of the coastal zone, worldwide, increased dramatically during the 20th century and this trend appears to be certain to continue during the 21st century. India will be no exception. Climate change and its resultant sea-level rise can significantly increase the vulnerability of a […]

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