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Meteorology is the science that deals with atmospheric phenomena, especially in relation to 1 weather forecasting.


Early philosophical writings of the 3000 B.C.. Varahamihira’s classical work, the Brihatsamhita, written around 500 A.D., provides a clear evidence t a deep knowledge of atmospheric processes existed even in those times. It was understood that come from the sun (Adityat Jayate Vrishti) at good rainfall in the rainy season was the key to bountiful agriculture and food for the people. Arthashastra contains records of measurements of rainfall and it’s to the country’s revenue and relief work, his epic, ‘Meghdoot’, written around century, even mentions the date of monsoon over central India and traces monsoon clouds.


Meteorology, as we perceive it now, may be said to have had its firm scientific foundation in the 17th century after the invention of the thermometer and the barometer and the formulation of laws governing the behaviour of atmospheric gases. It was in 1636 that Halley, a British scientist, published his treatise on the Indian summer monsoon, which he attributed to a seasonal reversal of winds due to the differential heating of the Asian land mass and the Indian Ocean.

India is fortunate to have some of the oldest meteorological observatories of the world. The British East India Company established several such stations, for example, those at Calcutta in 1785 and Madras (now Chennai) in 1796 for studying the weather and climate of India.


India Meteorological Department (IMD), established in 1875, is the National Meteorological Service and the principal Government agency in all matters relating to Meteorology, Seismology and allied subjects. IMD along with Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune, conducts fundamental and applied research in meteorological instrumentation, radar meteorology, satellite meteorology and air pollution. Important functions of IMD are: (i) weather forecasting; (ii) flood forecasting; (iii) warnings against severe weather phenomena like cyclones, nor-wester dust storms, heavy rains and cold and heat wave; (iv) provides climatological information, records earthquakes and promotes research in meteorology; (v) exchange of weather data with other countries.


Recently there has been a growing concern over the increased incidence and severity of natural calamities. The commonly occurring natural disasters are:

Wind based-storm, cyclone, tornado, hurricane.

Water based-flood, drought, cloud bursts.

Seismic based-earthquake, avalanches, landslides

Geothermal-volcanic eruptions

Ecological-flash floods, mud slides, earth cavings etc.

Environmental degradation due to heavy pressures of population, agricultural development, industrialisation, mining, diminishing forest cover, over exploitation of ground water etc. along with lack of awareness and proper planning to cope with such disasters have been aggravating the crippling effect of natural disasters.

Agroclimatic conditions of India varies a lot with rainfall ranging from 150 mm in the Western part of country to over 10,000 mm in North-Eastern region. In some regions of Northern India 70% to 80% of total annual rainfall occurs in just one day which has resulted in flash floods causing destruction of human life and material. Nearly two- thirds of the country is arid, semi-arid and dry sub- humid region which is prone to recurrent droughts. Cyclones are a regular feature of coastal regions of India in the months of May & June and October & November. More than half of Indian region is prone to seismic disturbance-the Himalayan region and the North-Eastern region, located in the area of Main Boundary Thrust between the Indian plate and Eurasian Plate, are highly unstable. Floods are a regular feature of over 40 million hectares of land in the country. The hilly regions and the Himalayan regions are prone to landslides and avalanches.

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