India’s first atmospheric lab will gather data needed to fight climate change

With the largest forest cover in the country, Madhya Pradesh where all three seasons — summer, monsoon and winter — complete their full circle, is going to hold centrestage in dealing with the challenges of climate change once the newly established ‘Atmospheric Laboratory Centre becomes fully operational.

Madhya Pradesh based weather scientists associated with the mega project said that the development is a big achievement not only for the state but for the entire country because this Atmospheric Laboratory Centre will help to provide more authentic and accurate data on atmospheric changes in the state and adjoining states.

Spread over 100 acres in Madhya Pradesh’s Sehore district, the Atmospheric Laboratory Centre (ALC) will be the largest such centre in Asia. It is being established under the aegis of the Indian Institute of Tropical Metrology under the supervision of the Ministry of Earth Sciences.

“The project is still underway, it has been partially made operational with the installation of a few radars. It will take one or two years to get the system fully functional. This centre will be equipped with advanced radars, which are not installed at one or two IMD centres. More than 20 state-of-the-art weather equipment will be installed here. For this, dual polar metric C-band radars have been imported from Finland,” said G. D. Mishra, a retired weather scientist in Madhya Pradesh.

The laboratory is located at Sealkheda village in Sehore district, 15 km from Rajabhoj airport of state capital Bhopal. According to the project director, Dr Kundan Dani, the location was finalised after research reports that the upper air cyclone to the low pressure area passes from the vicinity.

“The most suitable place for such a lab is the region of central India due to many reasons. And after the success of this experiment, there is a target to set up five such laboratories in the North, South East, West and North Eastern parts of India,” Dani said.

He informed that radars are currently installed at only two places in central India — Bhopal and Nagpur. Both are S-band radars. This is just a cloud image (cloud position) radar. From this, it is known where the clouds are present and what types they are. But this does not give any information about hailstorms and the speed and direction of the wind that causes the movement of the clouds.

Some advanced system radars will be installed at this centre such as ‘wind profiler radar, which will give accurate information of both the wind direction and speed from the ground surface to a height of 12 km in the sky. With this, a thunderstorm forecast can also be issued.

Ku Band Radar: In India, this type of radar is used only by ISRO or the Air Force. For example, if there is a monsoon system 300 km away, then the exact location can be detected with this radar. It may also be known in which direction it is moving.

C-band dipole radar: It is a dipole radar, which emits two types of electromagnetic waves, vertical and perpendicular. With this, both the position and density of clouds can be accurately estimated.

Destrometer: It is the most modern instrument to measure the rainfall rate. Through this, by measuring the droplets of water in the air itself during the rain, the water falling per minute can be estimated. This will give accurate information about the amount of rain.

20221112-095805

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