‘Cyclone man’ Mrutyunjay Mohapatra took over as the director general of meteorology of the country’s weather department. Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, 54, replaced K.J. Ramesh, who headed the India Meteorological Department (IMD) since 2016.
Ramesh’s time at the helm was marked by several extreme weather events, including Cyclone Fani, the most intense storm over the Bay of Bengal to make landfall on India’s east coast since 1999. To Mohapatra’s credit, the accurate prediction of the cyclonic storms in recent memory helped minimize the loss of life in Odisha.
IMD had earned praise from the United Nations for forecasting the severity of Fani and its approach in issuing alerts in the run up to the event in May, which helped the government ensure adequate preparedness. Under Ramesh, the department strengthened its forecasting of severe weather events by using coupled dynamic models and high performance computers.
Mohapatra, the head of services since 2016, was also at the helm of affairs of the Regional Specialized Meteorological Centre (RSMC), Tropical Cyclone, since 2008, and led the team that provided early warning for cyclones Phailin, Hudhud, Vardah, Titli, Sagar, Mekunu and Fani. This made him popular as the ‘Cyclone Man of India’.
Mohapatra is also a permanent representative for India at the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and was an elected member of the executive council of the organization since June 2013.
A meteorologist for 26 years, Mohapatra joined IMD’s Pune office in 1992. He also worked at the interim test range of the Defence Research and Development Organisation in Balasore, Odisha.
Mohapatra is the chairman of various committees, including the task force for the finalisation of meteorological payloads of the INSAT-4 satellites to be launched in 2025 and the committee for revision of guidelines of the National Disaster Management Authority for cyclone management.
India Meteorological Department:
The IMD is responsible for the weather and climate-related
forecasts in the country. It is also mandated to issue warning to people about
severe weather phenomenon.
Formed on: 1875
Headquarters: New Delhi
Functions under: Ministry of Earth Sciences
Minister responsible: Dr. Harsh Vardhan
Director General: Mrutyunjay Mohapatra