New mobile phone application, Mausam, helps users access weather forecast information and receive warning of impending weather events.

The Mausam app is a result of a collaboration between the India Meteorological Department, the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology.

 I have seen many storms in my life. Most storms have caught me by surprise, so I had to learn very quickly to look further and understand that I am not capable of controlling the weather, to exercise the art of patience and to respect the fury of nature.”

Paulo Coelho

Echoing these words that highlight the importance of adapting to changing weather, scientists have been striving to deploy a tool for efficient and easy dissemination of weather forecasts and information. With time, significant advancements in the field of weather forecasting have been made, though the timely dissemination of weather information and early warnings has always been a challenge. As floods wreak havoc in Assam and Bihar this monsoon, devastating the livelihoods of many farmers and endangering the general public, the importance of disseminating knowledge and information relating to weather forecast and early-warning services has been bolstered further.

With a vision to improve the access and use of various weather forecasting products, the India Meteorological Department of the Ministry of Earth Sciences has taken various initiatives in recent years to improve climate information dissemination. As a hedging step in this direction, the India Meteorological Department, Ministry of Earth Sciences has launched a mobile phone-based application titled Mausama Hindi language translation of the word weather. The application was designed and developed in collaboration with the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune.

With the power envisaged in knowledge and information access, this application communicates weather information and forecasts to the general public in a lucid manner without using technical jargon. The information in the app was made readily accessible and easily understandable. Besides, the information is presented in an interactive interface, through which users can access observed weather, forecasts, radar images and be proactively warned of impending weather events.

Mausam mobile application

The Mausam app was developed to provide timely access to weather forecasts and early warnings. The app is available both on Google's Play Store and Apple's App Store, and will offer the following services:

  • Current weather information: Current temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction for 200 cities. This information is updated eight times in a day, providing near real-time information. Information on sunrise/ sunset and moonrise/ moonset are also provided.
  • Nowcast: Three hourly warnings of localized weather phenomena and their intensity will be issued for about 800 stations, and districts of India by State Meteorological Centres of IMD. In case of the likelihood of severe weather events, a warning notification will be triggered on the app.
  • City forecast: The app provides the past 24 hours and a 7-day forecast of weather conditions of around 450 cities in India.
  • Warnings: Color coded alerts (red, orange and yellow) can also be issued twice a day for all districts. The alerts are issued for five consecutive days (beginning from the first forecast of approaching weather calamity) to warn citizens of approaching adverse weather events. The color code red is for the most severe category urging authorities to take action, the orange code prompts authorities and the public to be on alert and the yellow code prompts authorities and the public to keep themselves updated.
  • Radar products: The app provides the latest station-wise radar products that are updated every 10 minutes

The Mausam mobile app is hoped to become an important tool to engage with the general public on weather-related information and thus improve the linkage across the climate information chain.  

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Ram Kiran Dhulipala is the Theme Leader for Digital Agriculture & Youth at ICRISAT. Anthony M. Whitbread is the Research Program Director for Innovation Systems for the Drylands at ICRISAT. Sakshi Saini is the Communications Specialist for the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) South Asia.