Pakistan to Improve its Weather Forecasting Systems

    Pakistan’s forecasting equipment and network for the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) has long been overdue for a upgrade. The equipment currently being used by the PMD is slightly outdated and is only used to provide forecast for 1 and 2 days and an outlook for 3 to 5 days at most.

    For stakeholders who wish to require information from the PMD for short-term operations as well as medium-to long-term planning, things need to improve at the Met Department.

    Pakistan Meteorological Department to Upgrade Its Systems
    The International Development Association (IDA) of the World Bank will be providing a $135 million soft loan to strengthen the PMD’s ability to provide reliable and timely weather, hyrdological and climate information and services to user departments and communities.

    For this upgrade, obsolete and dysfunctional radars will either be removed/replaced. At least 14 new radars will be provided to cover more than 95% of the country. The locations of most of these radars is expected to be in remote areas with low population levels.

    The upgradation of the weather forecasting equipment at the PMD is indeed a welcome step and a positive move.

    A Necessary Upgrade
    In June last year, the PMD failed to report in advance about a windstorm that devastated Islamabad and parts of Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa on 1st June. A report on this failure was demanded by the Prime Minister. The report was submitted and the PM’s House agreed on acquiring the latest weather radars and asked the PMD to submit a comprehensive plan in this regard.

    The upgraded equipment is expected to lead to improved hydro-meteorological information, strengthened forecasting and early-warning systems and speedy dissemination of weather, climate and hyrdological information to end-users.

    Improved accuracy and lead time for weather forecasts and warning are on of the key indicators of this project. It is expected to be implemented over a time period of 5 years.

    Pakistan has experienced extreme weather events mainly because of climate change. The number and intensity of such events will only increase in the upcoming years. Therefore, upgrading the early weather forecast equipment and network is very crucial in order to prevent human and property loss by forecasting changes in weather pattern and issuing advance alerts in advance.

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