NEW DELHI: As the monsoon covers most of the country, there is a
new way you can study, track and better understand this South Asian
phenomenon - online.
Called 'Monsoon On Line' (MOL), a venture by scientists in cyberspace, is now available via the site of the Pune-based Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology.
The MOL web site promises to be "the definitive information source for monitoring and forecasting the Asian monsoons". It notes that the Asian summer monsoon "affects the lives of 60 percent of the world population and has a major controlling effect on world food production".
Located at the tropmet.res.in site, MOL looks at past and present monsoons and offers links to various other monsoon-related information available online. It also gives rainfall charts - on an all-India daily or weekly, or station-basis.
In addition, it has monsoon monitoring pages and details of the recent monsoons - between 1997 and 2006. Other features include monsoon forecasting and a bibliography on Asian monsoons.
The monsoon, or the rainy season, has lasting climatic effects. It refers to both the wet monsoon and the dry monsoon experienced periodically in South Asia and Southeast Asia.
In hydrology, 'monsoonal' rainfall is considered to be that which occurs in any region that receives the majority of its rain during a particular season. There are monsoons in North America, Sub-Saharan Africa, Brazil and East Asia as well.
The MOL site was created by K Rupa Kumar and JV Revadekar of the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology at Pune and DB Stephenson and E Black of the Department of Meteorology at the University of Reading in Britain.
"Much of (the currently available) information is neither grouped together intelligently nor interpreted in any particular way. There are many pages containing climate information but it often tends to be scattered all over the place," say the creators of this site.
They also acknowledge that a problem with many large institutions is they feel "the need to have aesthetically pleasing web sites yet these sites often contain very little useable information".
In August 1997, this team started their first thematic web site for prediction of the Asian summer monsoon. "It seemed like a good way to tidy up both our bookmarks and our offices at the same time and it allows one to keep track of the monsoon at one easy click of a mouse button. The site has been very well received," said a team member.
Recently, Australia-based T Matthew Ciolek of The Asian Studies WWW Monitor, which is run out of The Australian National University, Canberra, rated the site's scholarly usefulness at the highest-ranked "essential" category.
Villagers stand on the terrace of their house to collect food supplies being dropped from an Indian Air Force helicopter in the flood-hit area of Midnapore district in West Bengal. Thousands of people have been marooned in West Bengal due to the ongoing monsoons (Reuters Photo)
AHMEDABAD/SURAT: Blame it on Gonu. Your wait for monsoon to beat this sweltering
heat just got delayed by a couple of days as cyclone Gonu, which gave the
Gujarat coast a miss and hit Oman, has taken the wind out of south-west
Gonu took with it the monsoon winds that had in fact reached the Andamans early and were set to hit Mumbai a few days before June 10, the normal date for the onset of the season in the metropolis. The monsoon is now expected to hit Mumbai in another two-three days.
Likewise, pre-Gonu, the monsoon was expected to enter Gujarat on June 15. Now, it is expected to come by June 19. "The monsoon onset over Kerala on May 28 was early by two-three days but due to the formation of cyclone Gonu in Arabian Sea on June 4, the further movement of it was arrested," director (forecasting) of the India Meteorology Department (IMD) Kamaljeet Ray told TOI.
The silver lining here is that the conditions are now favourable and the monsoon has crossed Goa. It is likely to advance over Mumbai in another two to three days . "The monsoon may further advance over south Gujarat and Saurashtra by early next Xweek and is likely to cover the delay caused by the cyclone," said Ray pointing that there would, however, be light showers.
The news would certainly come as a relief to Surtis who, like last year, have had to wait for their date with monsoon showers. The delay in the onset of rains has left Surtis battling with heat and humidity. Last year the dry spell continued for nearly three weeks from the normal date of onset of rains and this year with no signs till Wednesday, there is no respite from the sultry climate prevailing in Surat.
Says Naresh Kumar, a resident of City Light Area, "No rains coupled with rise in day temperature over the past fortnight by four to five degree Celsius have left the locals sweating profusely even during morning hours."
On Wednesday the minimum temperature recorded was 29 degrees Celsius, while the maximum was 35 degrees.
DHAKA: The death toll in the massive landslides in Bangladesh's
south-eastern Chittagong district rose to 86 since Monday night with
officials fearing more bodies could be trapped under tonnes of sludge.
The series of landslides, which occurred due to torrential rains, described by the met office as the heaviest in the quarter of a century, hit when most of the victims were asleep burying them alive.
The till mow 31 bodies have been recovered from the worst affected suburban Lebubagan area near Chittagong Cantonment, while the rest were dragged out from mud in several other areas at the port city and its outskirts, officials said.
Rescue operation is underway to dig out more bodies at about 50 spots, a district administration official said adding more than 103 injured people were being treated at different health facilities.
Chittagong, Bangladesh's second major city, witnessed a record rainfall with met office on Monday stating that they recorded 425 millimetre rains in 24 hours.
The downpour gave a recess this morning easing the rescue operations by the fire brigade, army, police and hundreds of volunteers.
"On Monday we resumed our rescue operations with more than 1,000 police, Army, fire brigade officer and members of the civil administration," Chittagong Chief Administrator Mukhlesur Rahman said.
By Imtiaz Shah | June 24, 2007
KARACHI (Reuters) - Storms and torrential rain have killed more than 200
people in Pakistan's biggest city, Karachi, a provincial minister said on
Sunday, and left angry residents without power.
"Now the total number of those killed because of rain is 228," provincial Health Minister Sardar Ahmed told Reuters. "These deaths are caused by electrocution, falling trees, house collapses and road accidents."
More bad weather is forecast for Pakistan and neighboring India, where dozens have died after prolonged downpours across the country in the last few days. Aid workers and military helicopters in India's southern state of Andhra Pradesh were battling on Sunday to provide food for 200,000 people displaced by monsoon floods.
Karachi residents hurled stones at passing cars and power company vehicles and burned tires in protest at the power outage affecting most of the country's commercial hub.
Low-lying neighborhoods were submerged after 17.7 millimeters (0.7 inches) fell on the city from Saturday. The rains were followed by a strong storm which uprooted trees and signboards and cut electricity wires.
Pakistani officials said hospitals in the sprawling city had reported 43 deaths, while a private welfare organization, Edhi Trust, had received the bodies of another 185 people.
Weather officials predicted more rains.
"There is a strong low pressure in the Arabian Sea, and we are expecting that it will now move along the coast and will intensify further," said Qamar-uz-Zaman Chaudhry, Director General of Pakistan's Meteorological Service.
"If it happens as we have predicted, it can cause heavy rainfall and gusty winds in the coastal areas of Sindh and Baluchistan over the next two days."
Karachi residents said they had experienced prolonged power cuts for several weeks but that such severe weather was unusual.
"I have never seen such heavy winds blowing in Karachi before. It was very unusual and it was scary," said Saima Qureshi, a resident of the Clifton area near the Arabian Sea.
Karachi's power utility said it would restore the city's electricity as quickly as possible.
"We are doing our best to restore the power supply, but ... the situation is very bad," said spokesman Syed Sultan Hasan.
Thousands of people are killed across South Asia every year, and hundreds of thousands made homeless, by months of monsoon rains which are vital for farmers and the economy but which leave a trail of destruction in their wake.
In Andhra Pradesh, southern India, officials revised down the death toll from this weekend's rains to 35, but said 24,000 houses had collapsed and 200,000 people were left homeless.
"Soldiers and naval helicopters have taken up rescue operations in Kurnool and Guntur districts ... where people are stranded on rooftops and up trees," said Preeti Sudan, the state's disaster management commissioner.
Heavy monsoon rains flooded homes and streets in India's financial capital, Mumbai, where the century-old British-built drainage system failed to cope with the storm water.
Media reports said about 50 people had died in the rains in the western state of Maharashtra, of which Mumbai is the capital, over the past three days.
In the southwestern tourist state of Kerala about 20 people have been killed since Friday, many electrocuted by falling power lines or swept away by landslides.
In northern areas of Bangladesh, about 30 people have died of diarrhea and other water-borne diseases over the past week after the Brahmaputra river flooded.
(Additional reporting by Faisal Aziz in Karachi, a Reuters reporter in Hyderabad and Nizam Ahmed in Dhaka)
(Writing by Zeeshan Haider, editing by Catherine Evans; Reuters Messaging:
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