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What is Meteorology?

Meteorology is the science of weather. It is essentially an inter-disciplinary science because the atmosphere, land and ocean constitute an integrated system. The three basic aspects of meteorology are observation, understanding and prediction of weather. There are many kinds of routine meteorological observations. Some of them are made with simple instruments like the thermometer for measuring temperature or the anemometer for recording wind speed. The observing techniques have become increasingly complex in recent years and satellites have now made it possible to monitor the weather globally. Countries around the world exchange the weather observations through fast telecommunications channels. These are plotted on weather charts and analysed by professional meteorologists at forecasting centres. Weather forecasts are then made with the help of modern computers and supercomputers. Weather information and forecasts are of vital importance to many activities like agriculture, aviation, shipping, fisheries, tourism, defence, industrial projects, water management and disaster mitigation. Recent advances in satellite and computer technology have led to significant progress in meteorology. Our knowledge of the weather is, however, still incomplete.

Synoptic Meteorology

Weather observations, taken on the ground or on ships, and in the upper atmosphere with the help of balloon soundings, represent the state of the atmosphere at a given time. When the data are plotted on a weather map, we get a synoptic view of the world’s weather. Hence day-to-day analysis and forecasting of weather has come to be known as synoptic meteorology. It is the study of the movement of low pressure areas, air masses, fronts, and other weather systems like depressions and tropical cyclones.


Climatology is a study of the climate of a place or region on the basis of weather records accumulated over long periods of time. The average values of meteorological parameters derived from a data base that extends over several decades are called climatological normals. Different regions of the world have different characteristic climates. However, it is now recognized that climate is not static and issues such as climate change and global warming are receiving increasing attention.

Dynamic Meteorology

This particular branch of meteorology attempts to describe the atmospheric processes through mathematical equations which together are called a numerical model. After defining the initial state of the atmosphere and ocean, the equations are solved to derive a final state, thus enabling a weather prediction to be made. Dynamic meteorology deals with a wide range of hydrodynamical equations from a global scale to small turbulent eddies. The process of solving the equations is very complicated and requires powerful computers to accomplish.

Physical Meteorology

In physical meteorology we study the physical processes of the atmosphere, such as solar radiation, its absorption and scattering in the earth-atmosphere system, the radiation back to space and the transformation of solar energy into kinetic energy of air. Cloud physics and the study of rain processes are a part of physical meteorology.

Agro Meteorology

In simple terms, agricultural meteorology is the application of meteorological information and data for the enhancement of crop yields and reduction of crop losses because of adverse weather. This has linkages with forestry, horticulture and animal husbandry. The agrometeorologist requires not only a sound knowledge of meteorology, but also of agronomy, plant physiology and plant and animal pathology, in addition to common agricultural practices. This branch of meteorology is of particular relevance to India because of the high dependence of our agriculture on monsoon rainfall which has its own vagaries.

A branch of meteorology that examines the effects and impacts of weather and climate on crops, rangeland, livestock, and various agricultural operations. The branch of agricultural meteorology dealing with atmospheric-biospheric processes occurring at small spatial scales and over relatively short time periods is known as micrometeorology, sometimes called crop micrometeorology for managed vegetative ecosystems and animal biometeorology for livestock operations. The branch that studies the processes and impacts of climatic factors over larger time and spatial scales is often referred to as agricultural climatology. See also Climatology; Micrometeorology.

Agricultural meteorology, or agrometeorology, addresses topics that often require an understanding of biological, physical, and social sciences. It studies processes that occur from the soil depths where the deepest plant roots grow to the atmospheric levels where seeds, spores, pollen, and insects may be found. Agricultural meteorologists characteristically interact with scientists from many disciplines.

Agricultural meteorologists collect and interpret weather and climate data needed to understand the interactions between vegetation and animals and their atmospheric environments. The climatic information developed by agricultural meteorologists is valuable in making proper decisions for managing resources consumed by agriculture, for optimizing agricultural production, and for adopting farming practices to minimize any adverse effects of agriculture on the environment. Such information is vital to ensure the economic and environmental sustainability of agriculture now and in the future. See also Weather observations.

Agricultural meteorologists also quantify, evaluate, and provide information on the impact and consequences of climate variability and change on agriculture. Increasingly, agricultural meteorologists assist policy makers in developing strategies to deal with climatic events such as floods, hail, or droughts and climatic changes such as global warming and climate variability.

Agricultural meteorologists are involved in many aspects of agriculture, ranging from the production of agronomic and horticultural crops, trees, and livestock to the final delivery of agricultural products to market. They study the energy and mass exchange processes of heat, carbon dioxide, water vapor, and trace gases such as methane, nitrous oxide, and ammonia, within the biosphere on spatial scales ranging from a leaf to a watershed and even to a continent. They study, for example, the photosynthesis, productivity, and water use of individual leaves, whole plants, and fields. They also examine climatic processes at time scales ranging from less than a second to more than a decade.

Applied Meteorology

Like agriculture, there are many human activities which are affected by weather and for which meteorologists can provide valuable inputs. Applied meteorologists use weather information and adopt the findings of theoretical research to suit a specific application; for example, design of aircraft, control of air pollution, architectural design, urban planning, and exploitation of solar and wind energy, air-conditioning, development of tourism, etc.

Ways Lightning Strikes People

lightning 1Direct Strike - A person struck directly by lightning becomes a part of the main lightning discharge channel.

lightning 2Side Flash Ground Current - A side flash (also called a side splash) occurs when lightning strikes a taller object near the victim and a portion of the current jumps from taller object to the victim.




lightning 3Ground Current - When lightning strikes a tree or other object, much of the energy travels outward from the strike in and along the ground surface.

Contact Potential - While you're touching something, like a fence-post or a tree, lighting strikes that object and the current travels from the object through the point of contact into your body.




How to Avoid Getting Hit by Lightning



squat lowlightning 4

  1. Avoid being out in any open areas like fields, golf courses, or parking lots. Here you are the tallest thing around, and the easiest target.

  2. Squat low to the ground, and place your hands on your knees with your head between them.Do not lie flat on the ground!

  3. Stay away from forms of metal.

  4. Don’t stand under tall objects like trees or towers





If someone is struck by lightning..,

  1. 2lHe or she does not carry an electrical charge and can be handled safely.

  2. Check for breathing and heartbeat. If breathing has stopped, begin mouth-to-mouth resuscitation

  3. If the victim is breathing and has a normal pulse, check for other signs of injury. Lightning victims often suffer severe burns in two places: where the lightning entered and where it exited the body.

  4. If any abnormalities are evident, the victim may be admitted to the hospital for further diagnostic work-up and treatment.



*There is no danger in touching, holding or carrying a person struck by lightning.

Precautions against Lightning

A lightning flash, after traveling a distance about half a kilometer from clouds selects a closest conducting path to approach the earth before getting neutralized. Therefore, the tallest objects in a location are the best callers or supporters for a lightning flash on its way to the ground. In a natural environment, tall trees are the lightning-attracters. Otherwise conducting (metal) structures or objects (like communication towers, telephone and power supply lines and TV antenna) will attract the close by lightning flashes. In absence of such objects, the buildings in the location are vulnerable to direct hit of thunderbolts.

Life and Property

  • Lightning flash is a quick discharge of extraordinary electric energy and it can cause damage to any object through which it flows towards the earth. Such a flash can cause loss of life and physical damage to human beings, animal and property.

  • As mentioned earlier, lightning is a natural phenomenon and therefore it is difficult to stop it. But the hazards caused by lightning could be reduced with a number of precautionary measures.

  • It has been noticed that a number of lives are lost in thunderstorms mainly due to the negative response of the people in launching precautionary steps that could be taken in order to reduce hazards.


Do you Know.. ?

Life Is safe inside an enclosed metal Object



  • If you see dark clouds, then lightning could be present, but the best thing you can do is to listen for thunder.
  • If you hear thunder, then you need to go indoors or get in a car.
  • Please be aware of weather forecast regarding lightning and thunder storms issued by Department of Meteorology.


Tsunami Simulation Exercise

A tsunami simulation exercise was conducted in Hambantota and Batticaloa on October 14 at 6.30 in the morning in order to provide an opportunity to Indian Ocean countries to exercise their operational lines of communications, review their tsunami warnings and emergency response procedures, and to promote emergency preparedness.

This exercise was organized by the Intergovernmental Coordination Group of Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System (ICG/IOTWS). This exercise was conducted in 15 countries in the Indian Ocean on the same day, to coincide with World Disaster Reduction Day.

In this event, the Department of Meteorology as the National Meteorological and Tsunami Early Warning Centre was issued the ‘Tsunami Watch’ and ‘Tsunami Warnings’ only to the Disaster Management Centre according to this exercise. The Disaster Management Centre was disseminated these messages to the selected communities through their early warning dissemination system.

The main purpose of Exercise tsunami incident 2009 was to test national standard operating procedures and the operational lines of communication between the National Tsunami Warning Centre and Japan Metrological Agency (JMA) and Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre in Hawaii, USA and improve coordination throughout the region.

Last Updated: 02 December 2014