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Bangalore to help keep vigil on climate.

AT the 97th Indian Science Congress in Thiruvananthapuram, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that though the Copenhagen summit could make only "very limited" progress, India should not lag behind in developing technologies to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

Scientists from different fields -- energy, space, meteorology, ocean and earth sciences, agriculture and so on -- responded enthusiastically. Climate became the buzzword, as they chalked out and shared plans to address the issue.

As it happens, Bangalore is becoming a hub, not only for climate research as we reported earlier, but also for monitoring the changes on ground and in the sky, and helping scientists and policymakers respond better.

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) based here was a key host of the Congress along with Kerala University. Its scientists will play a big role in the monitoring of the government's response to climate change.

To begin with, three new ISRO satellites are on the anvil. They will be measuring different variables like temperature and winds and their interplay and impacts on ground, in the air and in the oceans. In a year or so they are expected to join the ISRO fleet of satellites giving us a clearer picture of the changing climate.

INSAT 3D will be a dedicated meteorological satellite. It will carry a sensitive instrument that monitors rainfall, sea surface temperature and cloud movements, besides a sounder that gives profiles of temperature and humidity. It will also help in monitoring the path cyclones might take and thereby predict the time and place of their land- fall.

Megha- Tropiques, an Indo- French collaboration, envisages a probe into tropical formations and their impact on climate, as its name suggests. In Sanskrit megha means cloud and in French tropiques means tropics.

This satellite will help scientists develop data set to support climate predictions and validate climate and weather models over tropical areas. It will also contribute to an understanding of global weather systems, influenced by the tropical processes.

In the context of climate change there is a lot of interest in the tropical areas that receive the maximum energy from the sun and radiate it back into space. Atmospheric scientists would say: " The excess energy fuels a thermal engine that provides circulation in the atmosphere and oceans." Then follow rain and thunderstorms! Yet another Indo- French satellite is on the anvil. SARAL aims to observe ocean changes, coasts, inland waters and the surface of continental ice sheets.

It will have a French payload on board to measure sea level on a large scale. It is expected to contribute a lot to the study of sea level rise, a major impact of climate change.

Besides, existing satellites like the INSAT series, Oceansat- 2 and RISAT will also contribute to weather monitoring and disaster preparedness and response.

Meanwhile the Department of Earth Sciences is now planning to club together various agencies and services in the field of earth observation for synergic work. There is a specific project with ISRO to study the health coral reefs that could be hit by changes in the temperature and chemistry of sea water in a warming globe.

That is the climate observation story. Bangalore is also a hub of emerging clean energy technologies -- but that's another tale.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Jan 7, 2010
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