Srinagar: Several defunct Automatic Weather Stations (AWS) and Automatic Rain Gauge (ARG) systems of India Meteorological Department (IMD) in Jammu and Kashmir have been awaiting restoration for more than two years.
As per sources, there are 4 AWS defunct in Anantnag district. The main AWS, a few kilometers from Anantnag town is also defunct for last 2 to 3 months.
“Anantnag district, which is a source of river Jhelum and many of its tributaries, has only one AWS at Pahalgam. The other AWS, a few kilometers away from Anantnag town, has remained dysfunctional for the past few months,” locals of the area said.
Other AWSs in Anantnag district defunct for past one year include those situated at Amarnath Cave, Chandanwari, Panchtarni and Sheshnag.
Besides, all the 3 AWSs at Baramulla give no rainfall reading although they provide the temperature data.
A cursory look at the IMD websites shows that all the three AWSs including one at Kongdoori Gulmarg “have no rainfall sensors or show no rainfall even when the area receives heavy rainfall”.
“The AWS at Bandipora shows no faulty rainfall reading even when there is heavy rainfall in the area while Automatic Rain Gauge which has temperature sensor installed and located nearby to the AWS show often temperature difference in the range +- 3°C, arising doubt about the accuracy of Automatic Weather Stations,” said a MeT expert while wishing not to be named.
Apart from Kashmir, the problem of faulty AWSs is found in Jammu. AWS at Chatha in Jammu is also defunct for quite some time.
The AWS in Shopian district shows very low or no rainfall, even when the whole district gets lashed by heavy rainfall. The AWS in Pulwama district shows no or very low rainfall even during the time of heavy rainfall, said the experts.
The AWS at Shalimar Srinagar gives improper temperature readings. The faulty nature of the system can be gauged from the fact that last month temperature shown by AWS crossed 36 degrees Celsius, which is an incorrect reading.
As per the experts it is not only AWS, but Automatic Rain Gauge (ARG) systems also that are also showing incorrect readings.
“ARG at Khudwani doesn't record any rainfall, ARG located at Bakore Jammu doesn't record rainfall properly for every hour or at least there is problem with IMD servers, same is the case with ARGs situated in Poonch, Rajouri and Reasi districts, ARG at Tral Pulwama gives no rainfall reading” said the weather expert. It may be mentioned that the Ganderbal AWS which was out of order was made functional recently.
When contacted, Muhammad Ashraf, Incharge of AWSs, Jammu and Kashmir said they are awaiting supply of spare parts from the supplier in Pune. “Only after the spares are received, the defunct AWSs and ARGs will be made functional.”
He said these spares include rainfall and temperature sensors.
“Faults in many of the defunct systems have been rectified but several of them are lying defunct. We are hopeful to receive the sensors so that we can install them in the systems to make them functional soon,” he said.
It may be mentioned that IMD’s and ISRO's announcement of installing 44 AWSs across Jammu and Kashmir with at least one in each district is yet to be implemented in full after 6 years.
There is an inadequate network of weather stations in J&K although it is vulnerable to cloudbursts and other extreme rainfall events.
One such example is of Kishtwar when a cloudburst occurred on the intervening night of 27 and 28 July in Honzar Dachhan village and resulted in the death of 7 people and 19 other missing people remain untraceable to date.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) has said that extreme events are going to increase furthermore in the world. As such, Automatic Weather Stations are need of the hour. Getting updates every 15 minutes from these AWS would help in predicting and knowing accurately about the weather happenings in an area. This will also help in researching other areas of J&K and knowing the weather trends, unlike remaining confined to data of 11 weather observatories of J&K.