Significance of Atmospheric Research Testbed (ART)

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March 16, 2024

Why in news?

Recently the 1st phase of India’s Atmospheric Research Testbed in Central India (ART-CI) was inaugurated at Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh.

What is Atmospheric Research Testbed?

  • Fund- Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES).
  • Implementation by - Indian Institute of Tropical Metrology, Pune.
  • ACROSS scheme- ART-CI is the component under Atmosphere & Climate Research-Modelling Observing Systems & Services (ACROSS), central sector scheme, pertains to the atmospheric science programs of MoES.
  • About-It is an open-field observational and analytical research program aimed at studying vital cloud processes associated with the Indian monsoon, particularly focusing on the Monsoon Core Zone (MCZ) in central India.

The core monsoon zone is a region in India that stretches from Gujarat in the west to West Bengal in the east

  • Need- To conduct comprehensive observations of weather and cloud parameters, crucial for understanding monsoon patterns.
  • Location significance- The selection of Silkheda in Madhya Pradesh as the site for ART is strategic as it is positioned directly in the path of major rain-bearing synoptic systems, it facilitates direct monitoring and tracking of these systems.
  • High quality data- The pristine environment, devoid of anthropogenic pollutants, makes it an ideal location for deploying sensitive meteorological instruments, ensuring high-quality data collection.
  • First phase- It will have remote sensing-based and in-situ measurements using 25 meteorological instruments have commenced.
  • Second phase- ART will deploy instruments such as a radar wind profiler and balloon-bound radiosonde, and soil moisture and temperature measuring equipment.

At 72 metres, ART will house India’s tallest meteorological tower.

What are the objectives of ART-CI?

  • Understand monsoon dynamics-To better understand on processes governing monsoon convection and land atmospheric interactions over the monsoon core region.
  • Measure parameters- To measure relevant meteorological parameters using the state-of-the-art observational systems.
  • Observational campaigns- To organize intense observational campaigns along with weather prediction model runs for testing hypotheses and to improve physical parameterizations in the models related to convection and land surface processes.
  • Address research needs- There is an urgent need to understand more on monsoon convection, its diurnal variation and land-atmospheric interactions.
  • Outreach and training- The testbed will be made into an international facility for intense observational campaigns and testing physical parameterization schemes including sensitivity runs.
  • Improve weather predictions- To use ART-CI data to test, validate, and constrain numerical models for improving predictions of intense convective storms and high-impact mesoscale weather events observed predominantly over the Central India region.
  • Data dissemination- The data collected at this facility will be shared for research to national and international scientific community within the data policy of the Ministry of Earth Sciences.

How ART-CI is significant to India?

  • Agricultural dependence- About 45% of India’s labour force is employed in agriculture, which relies heavily on rain, especially in the Monsoon Core Zone (MCZ) spanning central India2.
  • Monsoon significance- The southwest monsoon brings 70% of India’s annual rainfall, critical for Kharif crops cultivated during July and August.
  • Study rainfall patterns: ART helps study the synoptic systems like low pressures or depressions originating in the Bay of Bengal, which significantly influence the monsoon rainfall in the MCZ.
  • Weather forecasting- The long term data from ART will improve weather models, leading to more accurate rainfall predictions, benefiting the agricultural sector.
  • Rainfall correlation- The rainfall in central India is closely linked to the overall monsoon performance across the country, making it a key area for study.
  • Climate change-With changing climate patterns, understanding monsoon behaviour in this region helps in adapting to erratic rainfall strengthened low pressure systems.
  • Research advancements- The Atmospheric Research Testbed (ART) enables scientists to gather long-term data, improving weather models and rainfall predictions.

Quick facts

ACROSS scheme

  • It is central sector scheme that pertains to the atmospheric science programs of the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES).
  • The sub-schemes under the ACROSS scheme are multi-disciplinary in nature and will be implemented in an integrated manner through 4 institutes.
  • Institutes – The four institutes are:
    • India Meteorological Department (IMD)
    • Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM)
    • National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF)
    • Indian National Center for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS)
  • They will cover all the aspects of the weather and climate.
  • Sub-Schemes- Each institute has designated role for accomplishing the tasks through the following schemes:
    • Upgradation of Forecast System
    • Weather & Climate Services
    • Atmospheric Observations Network
    • Numerical Modelling of Weather and Climate
    • Monsoon Mission III
    • Monsoon     Convection    Clouds      and      Climate      Change      (MC4)
    • High Performance Computing System (HPCS)



  1. The Hindu-Why Atmospheric research bed in Bhopal?
  2. Tropmet- About Atmospheric Research Testbed in Central India
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