Centres to study climate change

The Tribune , Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Correspondent : Kuldeep Chauhan / Tribune News Service
Mandi, August 9

Coming to terms with the climate shift and climate change in the Himalayan region, GB Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development (GBPIHED) is setting up 14 high-tech “climate stations” at the base of the world’s highest battlefield - Siachin glacier to Sikkim in northeast - to map, study and predict the magnitude of climate change in the region.

The institute has tied-up with the Centre for Mathematical Methodology and Computer Assimilation (CMMCA), Bangalore, to set up an array of 14 high-tech climate stations in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim.

According to the scientists, summers are larger in the Himalayas, vegetation is shifting upwards, local average temperatures are rising, cloudbursts and flash floods are striking even in cold deserts like Leh and glaciers are receding and melting fast. “But we attribute these to the climate change and global warming, but do not know exactly how it is impacting and what consequences it will for local tribal communities, snow-fed rivers, hydropower projects coming up in a big way in the Himalayan region”, they revealed.

These climate towers will be located at base of the Siachin glacier in Kargil, Leh , Kothi in Kullu valley, Almora in Uttarakhand, Garhwal, Sikkim and Arunchal Pradesh, sources revealed. Each towers costs Rs 80 lakh to Rs 1.40 crore depending on the sensors it has.

The 34-meter-high tower has sensors that record movements of wind currents, rainfall and snowfall, humidity and even underground soil moisture, the scientists said. “The data can be used to predict weather in the areas”.

GBPIHED director LMS Palni said: “The idea behind the climate towers is to study the phenomenon of climate change and climate shift in the Himalayas as there is no sufficient scientific data available to know the exact magnitude of the climate change and global warming in the high mountain region”.

Palni said they would record area-specific data on wind currents and velocity, rainfall and snowfall, humidity and even underground soil moisture for 5-6 years. “Once we have this data, we will be able to predict the climate shift and its impact in the Himalayan region, including cold deserts of Leh-Ladakh and Lahaul-Spiti”, he said.

Palni added that they had set a climate tower at Almora and 13 other towers would be set up within a period of three years.

SOURCE : http://www.tribuneindia.com/2010/20100810/himachal.htm#5

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