Ramakrishna Iyer Ananthakrishnan obtained his DSc degree (1937) from the University of Madras. His areas of specialization were light scattering and Raman effect, solar physics and atmospheric physics (Meteorology). He was Assistant Director, Solar Physics Observatory, Kodaikanal (1946-54); Director, Regional Meteorological Centres at Nagpur, Delhi and Mumbai (1954-59), Dy Director-General, India Meteorological Department (1959-69); Director, Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (1969-71); and a Visiting Professor, University of Cochin (1975-82).
Academic and Research Achievements: The contributions of Ananthakrishnan relate to light scattering and Raman effect, sunspots and solar prominences recorded at the Kodaikanal Observatory, aerological diagrams, atmospheric thermodynamics, upper atmosphere, monsoon circulations, tracks of storms and depressions, atmospheric pressure oscillations, errors in upper air data and certain aspects of Indian rainfall, including diurnal variations. At Alipose (Kolkata) Observatory, Ananthakrishnan studied two Weather phenomena viz. severe thunderstorms, commonly known as Kal Baisakhi and tropical cyclones. Dr Ananthakrishnan, with his background of thermodynamics, took up the work of designing an aerological diagram for India. The Tephigram prepared by Dr Ananthakrishnan for the Indian climatic conditions, still remains in use at the IMD. Another important work which Dr Ananthakrishnan organized was the preparation of Storm Track Atlas of the North Indian Ocean (1877-1960), which was published in 1961 showing not only the statistics about the cyclonic storms and depressions but also portrayed their individual tracks for each year. This work has remained a standard reference on the subject since then and the style followed in that work has been followed in subsequent two versions of the Atlas. He had authored the book An Introduction to Meteorology (Madras Science Foundation).
Other Contributions: Ananthakrishnan was associated with some technical commissions and working groups of WMO, Geneva. He was a Member of Editorial Boards of Journal of Climatology (1981-87) and Current Science (1983-91). He organized MSc course in Meterology at the University of Cochin in 1975.
Awards and Honours: Ananthakrishnan received Padma Shri (1969) and Professor CV Raman Centenary Medal (1988). He was a Fellow of Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore; Foundation Fellow of Maharashtra Academy of Sciences; and a Life Member of Indian Meteorological Society.