Down to Earth - - APPRAISAL -

have found that aerosols, de­pend­ing on their kind, can dis­si­pate or cre­ate clouds.We have been ex­per­i­ment­ing to see how cer­tain aerosols can be used as cloud con­den­sa­tion nu­clei in lower al­ti­tudes to aid rain­drop for­ma­tion.This ex­per­i­men­tal set up is called cloud seed­ing.

We are also try­ing to understand the ef­fects of pol­lu­tion on rain-bear­ing clouds.We have ob­served that in heav­ily pol­luted ar­eas, cloud for­ma­tion gets af­fected and wa­ter droplets are of­ten much smaller and more dis­trib­uted.The kind of pol­lu­tion also af­fects cloud for­ma­tion. We will have a clear pic­ture about this in the next five to 10 years.

How­ever, the re­search is equip­ment-in­ten­sive and of­ten ex­pen­sive.We col­lect data and make ob­ser­va­tions with air­crafts and our high al­ti­tude cloud lab in Ma­ha­balesh­war. In the past we have been able to hire two air­crafts, one each for re­search and seed­ing. Cur­rently due to bud­get cuts from the Union gov­ern­ment we can hire only a sin­gle air­craft for re­search pur­poses, which costs be­tween 10-20 crore for a sea­son. We also re­quire an ad­vanced radar, which mon­i­tors clouds that have large radii of about 200 km. But this will cost about 14 crore. Hope­fully, we can pro­cure this and con­tinue seed­ing ex­per­i­ments in the com­ing years.We have been look­ing for tech­no­log­i­cal col­lab­o­ra­tions with in­terna

tional part­ners. while oceans pro­vide an insight into sea­sonal changes.But we look into ice cores to get an idea of cli­matic changes and evolv­ing pat­terns over the mil­len­nia.So,we con­duct ex­pe­di­tions ev­ery year.We have been drilling for ice core sam­ples from the Antarc­tic since the 1980s,from the Arc­tic in the last few years and from the Hi­malayas since last year. The idea is to cover the so called “three poles”which greatly in­flu­ence the world’s hy­dro­log­i­cal and cli­ma­to­log­i­cal pro­cesses. By study­ing th­ese sam­ples, we hope that we will be able to understand the in­flu­ences of the polar re­gions,and re­con­struct records of the past cli­matic and mon­soon pat­terns.This will give us a clear pic­ture of how cli­mate has evolved and how it is af­fect­ing the mon­soon.

Our work is ap­pa­ra­tus in­ten­sive.We re­quire polar ves­sels, drilling equip­ment, un­manned ob­ser­va­tion sys­tems and in­stru­ments for at­mo­spheric and oceanic ob­ser­va­tions. About 40 in­sti­tutes and uni­ver­si­ties work with us since ncaor is the pri­mary fa­cil­i­ta­tor for all sci­en­tific in­sti­tu­tions in the coun­try that want to un­der­take polar re­search.

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