ISRO’s Disaster Management Programme: Developing Techniques to Predict Nearly Every Natural Disaster

When it is not launching record number of satellites to space, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is making sure those who live in India stay safe and sound. The premier organisation has been working on a number of initiatives that will collectively be able to forecast natural disasters in India.

ISRO is currently carrying out studies to see how best it can utilise the information derived from satellites to develop methodologies that will be able to forecast natural calamities.

Jitendra Singh, minister of state, Department of Atomic Energy and Department of Space, in response to a question raised in Lok Sabha provided information that ISRO is working on a number of initiatives in this field.


Here are some of the methodologies that have either been developed or are in the process of being developed:

1) ISRO has developed a method to predict cyclone formation by using satellite information. This method can also track cyclones and gauge the intensity. Having already been developed, the methodology has been transferred to the India meteorological Department (IMD).

2) ISRO has also developed FLEWS (Flood Early Warning System) as an R&D project for the state of Assam. This model is already in 25 districts in the state that are most prone to floods.

3) The Space Applications Centre (SAC), which is an arm of ISRO, has developed a model that can predict and provide timely alerts for heavy rainfall and cloud bursts. This is being carried out on an experimental basis in the Indian region.

4)  To predict extreme weather conditions, there are experimental methodologies being put to work that can provide early warnings for events like heat waves.

The information derived is being made available on the MOSDAC  website.

ISRO has realized two satellite missions, Viz., MeghaTropiques (launched in Oct 2011) and SARAL (launched in Feb 2013), in collaboration with French National Space Agency (CNES).

Presently, ISRO is working with National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the USA towards a joint realisation of a satellite mission, namely, NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR), to be launched by 2020-21 timeframe. The fund allocation for MeghaTropiques is Rs. 81.6 Crores, SARAL is Rs. 73.75 Crores and for NISAR is Rs. 513 Crores.

This information was provided by the Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Development of North-Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh in written reply to a question in Lok Sabha.