Friday, 24 September, 2021

India develops mobile app ‘Damini’ to alert people about lightning

In the backdrop of rising trend of lightning activity over the country in the last two decades, India has developed a mobile application (app) to alert people about lightning and monitor lightning activities in the skies.
The purpose of the mobile app called “Damini” is to alert the person if lightning is happening near the person by GPS notification in the distance under 20 kms and 40 kms radius and to monitor all lightning activities, specifically for India, official sources said.
“The lightning activities have shown an increasing trend all over India and the purpose of this app is to monitor all lightning activities, specifically for India and alert the person if lightning is happening near the person by GPS notification,” said Dr Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of State for Earth Sciences, in Lok Sabha on Friday.
Responding to a question, he informed the House that detailed description of instructions and precautions are provided in the app.
As per recent studies, parts of Indian peninsula, particularly Northeast and East, have registered a sharp rise of lighting over the past two decades. The increase is minimal over central India and moderate over the rest of the country.
Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune under the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), has established a lightning location network strategically installed at 83 places in the country to detect and locate lightning strikes with utmost accuracy.
Central processor of this network, located at IITM, receives and processes the signal received from the network and identifies the location of lightning strikes with less than 500 m accuracy, according to a statement issued by the Indian ministry of Earth Sciences here on Friday.
The output from this network is shared with India Meteorological Department (IMD) and various State Governments and is used for nowcasting purposes.
From the National Weather Forecasting Centre, these forecasts and warnings are given in meteorological sub-divisional scale whereas State Meteorological Centres issue the same at district level.
In addition to that, thunderstorms and associated disastrous weather phenomena are covered by nowcast (forecast for next 3 hours issued every 3 hours) in the location/district level by State Meteorological Centres.
At present, this facility is extended to all the districts and for about 1084 stations across the country, the statement added.
According to official data, at least 1,619 people have been killed due to lightning in India’s 16 states during the last one year from April, 01, 2020 to March 31, 2021.
The highest numbers of death were registered from Bihar with 401 casualties. Bihar was followed by Uttar Pradesh (238), Madhya Pradesh (228), Odisha (156) and Jharkhand (132).
Besides, 78 deaths were registered in Chhattisgarh, 68 I in Maharashtra, 54 in Karnataka, 46 in Assam, 42 in Rajsthan, 38 in West Bengal, 36 in Telengana, 34 in Andhra,  28 in Gujrat, 24 in Uttarakhand, and 16 in Tamilnadu states.
However, due to the rising trend of lightning strikes across India, experts have been requesting the government to raise mass awareness to minimize deaths and loss of properties caused by lightning across the country.    
“Since most of the people do not know how to survive from lighting, the authorities concerned have to launch vigorous campaign across the country to aware people for their personal safety,” said Dr. Monoronjon Sinha from IIT, Kharagpur, recently.