New phone alerts for extreme weather could help prevent casualties in India

Washington, Jan. 8: Computer science undergraduates have developed image based mobile phone alerts, connected to the Weather Research and Forecasting system, which could help prevent casualties in India.

India has a mobile phone subscriber base exceeding 929 million people and this is expected to touch 1.15 billion by the end of 2014. An alert system developed for mobiles could reach an estimated 97 per cent of the population.

The paper details how, during the 2013 storm, Cyclone Phailin, the computer scientists were able to track its genesis, progression and landfall. By converting the data into images suitable for phones, they created a forecasting and warning system accessible to ordinary citizens.

Dr. Sat Ghosh said that cyclone alerts can save lives and property, but must be easily accessible.

He said that the easy-to-use Weather Research and Forecasting model remains confined to an elite group of users, such as atmospheric scientists and weather forecasters.

Ghosh added that their research explores how the WRF forecast can be interfaced with mobile telephony which has a deep penetration even in rural pockets of India.

A new paper has been published in journal Atmospheric Science Letters. (ANI)