I went into nostalgia after reading the name of Prof Kerry N Emanual of MIT in newspapers on Warming of Oceans and forecasting of tropical Cyclones. It took me back to my JNU days ,when I was pursuing for my Ph.D. degree .
These days when it has become almost like a fashion to criticize JNU in different quarters, I thought fit to talk about contributions made by JNU faculty of past and present and about their role in state of the art research.
It was foresight of my erudite and scholarly guru Prof GP Malik in early nineties, 1991 to be precise to give me a topic which was at very nascent stage of research not only in India ,but even in the US .Apart from US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, called NOAA in short, only a few academic departments of a selected US universities and Japanese Universities were pursuing their research on dynamic modelling of tropical cyclones ,which are called by different names in different part of the world. They are called Typhoons in Japan , Hurricanes in America’s and tropical Cyclones in Asia and in tropics .They are the great Environmental hazards and cause immense damage to people and surroundings and their timely prediction can mitigate impact of it’s fury. Looking at my academic background, although I did not had any formal training in meteorology other than few introductory courses during M.Phil programme and a few courses on Fluid Dynamics during my B.Tech days. He gave an open ended topic of tropical Cyclones forecasting and with the comment to do a cutting edge, state of the art work which will result into first of its kind research and suggested some journals to go for literature review.
I went from library to library.
At that time most of the forecasting models were based on statistical prediction methods and required super computers. A few such facilities were available in India those days, one at IISc Bangalore and another at National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting NCMRWF at Lodhi Road . And a few academic departments in US and Japanese Universities were pursuing research in dynamic forecasting.
Dynamic modelling was logical to be more accurate in its approach as it tried to forecast intensification of cyclones taking into consideration effect of all dynamical parameters like mean sea surface temperature, convective clouds ,vertical shear governed not by statistics but by basic principles of Physics.
Prof Malik advised me to take a dynamic model and replicate prediction of any cyclonic conditions by its help for M.Phil. work and extend the same for Ph.D. with some new insight. We chose to work on Charney -Eliasson model and by its help could replicate development of conditions leading to cyclonic disturbances .
Tropical Cyclones cause immense damage to our country also. Last year we have seen the effect of timely prediction of impending cyclone in Odisha and could save our people from its fury .
It is high time we should once again focus on accurate and timely prediction of cyclone and set up a specialised agency on pattern of NOAA in India for coordinating all efforts in oceanic and atmospheric sciences that will prepare us better in mitigating impact of natural disasters like tropical Cyclones and Tsunamis.