At present India Meteorological Department has only 68 functional manual rain gauges in Kerala. As per the BIS standards, Kerala requires 256 weather stations. In addition to this, real time monitoring of rainfall is also particularly important in disaster management.
The 2018 flood in Kerala pointed out the deficiency of density of the weather observation network in the state. State government requested Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India to enhance the number of observatories in Kerala through a Letter No. DMA1/447/2018/DMD dated 06.10.2018. State has requested 256 Automated Stations to be installed in Kerala. IMD had only 15 Automated weather stations present in 2018 and in which only 6 were functional. In additions to this IMD had 30 ARG’s installed across the state, in which 6 were working continuously and 10 intermittently.
With reference to the Government letter IMD decided to procure and Install 100 Automated Weather Stations for Kerala state. Kerala State Disaster Management Authority conducted a detailed field survey and prepared a list of 139 10m*10m land parcels across the state and provided to IMD. Selection procedure was based on the hazard profile of the state and suggestions of Dam managers and other concerned departments. The investigation reports may be found here. Report 1 and Report 2. The reports were approved by IMD Met Centre Kerala and accordingly, Government of Kerala issued Government Order No. 725/2019/DMD dated 18/10/2019 allocating 73 land parcels identified by KSDMA and approved by IMD for establishing the AWSs. A second list of 65 sites (27 preferred and 38 second preference sites) was communicated to IMD vide even number email dated 21/05/2020 for the remaining 27 number of AWSs for which the State is awaiting reply from IMD.
As a first phase IMD installed 15 AWS’s in Kerala in June 2020. The remaining are expected to be established before the year end. Including the newly established AWS, presently Kerala has 21 functional AWSs owned and managed by IMD which provides near real time data in 15 minutes interval.
Apart from IMD, ISRO also has 60 AWS installed in Kerala. But which are not functional now. KSEOC has conducted a detail field survey and prepared a report. The report has been submitted to the Government for seeking an engagement with ISRO and make those systems functional. Some of State Government Departments and institutions are also equipped with Automated Weather Stations.
Considering the requirement to have more real time observations of extreme rainfall events the KSDMA has from 2020, sourced weather data from M/S Skymet India Pvt. Ltd, which has 94 AWSs in Kerala. KSDMA is attempting to integrate weather information from multiple departments into a single dashboard for easy decision making.