India’s New Flood Watch Satellite

Last night, 25th July 2013, India successfully launched a satellite that will be dedicated to monitoring weather conditions. The launch of the satellite had been delayed. It’s unclear whether the timing of yesterday’s launch was prompted reactions to the flood disaster that struck northern India a month ago.

The satellite has been named INSAT-3D. It weighs around 2000 kg and cost Rs. 700 crore. It was launched from he French space port at Kourou in French Guyana in South America using the tested Ariane-5 rocket in its 69th launch. The satellite includes equipment that will help forecast heavy rainfall, storms and cloud bursts. It is intended to look at weather conditions in the Indian region in order to improve flood warnings.

Elsewhere in India, a report from Integrated Action on Resilience and Global Sustainability has argued that there is a lack of collaboration between knowledge-creating and policy-making bodies in India. This lack of collaboration was in part responsible for the lack of warning and preparation for the floods that struck Uttarakhand in June 2013.

Jyotiraj Patra, the author of the report said:

Leading up to the Uttarakhand floods, for example, there was plenty of evidence that should have raised alarms about the need to prepare for an extreme weather event. Monsoons in the region have become more and more erratic, he said, and authorities should have better anticipated and prepared for the earlier and heavier rains than usual that triggered the “Himalayan tsunami.

The evidence was all there, but it wasn’t being understood by or communicated to policy makers…I think that contributed (to the amount of harm done) to a high degree. Once you understand that your weather system is very unpredictable, that has to be translated to tangible policy-making instruments.

Let’s hope the launch of India’s new flood watch satellite is accompanied by better collaboration between forecasters and policy-makers in India.

Sources: NDTV; Preventionweb;