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Meteorology in India

    Naturevolume 135page1070 (1935) | Download Citation



    THE report on the administration of the Meteorological Department of the Government of India in 1933-34 has for frontispiece a very good photograph of a tornado which visited Peshawar on April 5, 1933, probably the first photograph to be obtained of this phenomenon in India. The Department has again been hampered by the heavy curtailment of expenditure initiated in 1932, and has nevertheless had to face increased demands for meteorological information on the part of air mail services. It was necessary, therefore, simply to dispense with additional forecasting centres and other facilities demanded by the circumstances, and to carry on with what is described as a skeletal meteorological organisation along each air route. Between April 1, 1933 and March 31, 1934, nearly six thousand weather reports and forecasts were issued to aviators by the departmental forecasting centres at Karachi, Calcutta and Poona and the Royal Air Force centres at Quetta and Peshawar, which are under the technical though not the administrative control of the Department. The report quotes remarks made in a discussion at the Royal Geographical Society of an account of the Ruttledge Mount Everest Expedition that are a strong tribute to the help that can be given to mountain expeditions by local forecasting centres in India. In this case, the Expedition was in touch with Dr. Sen of the Calcutta office for the supply of special forecasts. Scepticism of the value of forecasts that are based largely on observing stations at a comparatively low level was quickly seen to be unjustified, particularly when an abnormally early monsoon was successfully predicted. Among the many activities of the Department, it may be noted that the recently established branch of agricultural meteorology carried on special researches into matters affecting the growth of crops, and that some of the results have already been published.

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