A Perspective on Weather and Climate Science by S. Raghavan

S. Raghavan, retired Deputy Director-General of Meteorology of the India Meteorological Department, has written a valuable and very insightful essay on the role of meteorologists in society. Although he recognizes that he is not a climate “expert”, his essay equally applies to climate scientists, as is evident in the text. The article is part of the May 2005 issue of “BREEZE” the newsletter of the Indian Meteorological Society, Chennai Chapter. See also here.

He writes that, with respect to meteorological phenomena;

“Politicians and administrators as well as the public have to evaluate the impact on society of the various phenomena and take decisions in the face of uncertainties. Apparently scientific but incorrect or sensational information is often fed to them. The meteorologist has therefore a responsibility in bringing a correct appreciation of the nature of the meteorological phenomena and the factors which determine their impact, on the part of politicians, administrators and society in general and in removing misconceptions.”

He further states that “A much misunderstood phenomena is “global climate change”.” He discusses the complexity of climate change which has not been properly communicated to politicians.

This essay also illustrates that there are eminently qualified meteorologists of international stature, such as Dr. Raghavan, who are not asked to present their perspectives on climate issues. The article that he wrote, unfortunately, will not have wide dissemination. We need, however, to involve more of the climate science community of the caliber of Dr. Raghavan into the discussion of the science and policy issues, in order to assure a balanced presentation of climate science, which, has been seriously lacking up to the present.

S. Raghavan is also an author with A.K. Sen Sarma of the Chapter entitled “Tropical cyclone impacts in India and neighborhood” in Pielke, R.A., Jr. and R.A. Pielke, Sr., Editors, 2000: Storms, Volumes I and II, Routledge Press, London. His work is obviously of significance in the context of the impacts of Hurricane Katrina in the United States.

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