Tag Archives: climate

Meteorological Monograph On Monsoons By Indian Meteorological Department(IMD)

Indian Meteorological Department has released monograph on monsoons which contain scholarly articles on different aspects of monsoon by various top climatologists and researchers. It is an authentic source for everything on monsoon.

Download links (PDF) are below the images.

Download PDF: Monographs on Monsoons Volume-1

Download PDF:   Monograph On Monsoons Volume-2

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Drought, Monsoon, and El Nino – Their Mutual Relationship In The Indian Context

Monsoon brings showers and cheers to India. If it fails, it is a disaster both for people and economy. This year all forecasts of good monsoon have been belied and government is preparing to combat drought.

Thankfully we have enough food reserves to meet emergency requirements. Last year India produced record 252 million tonnes of foodgrains. Lot of it will be eaten by rats and left to decay in open spaces of FCI but that is another issue.

Monsoon faithfully arrives at the shores of Kerala every year in the month of June. Its arrival is sometimes disrupted by a phenomena called El Nino which occurs in Eastern Pacific, near the shores of Peru.

Already it is predicted that El Nino will occur this year, and this is a bad news for India and neighbouring countries. El Nino makes Monsoon weak, and kills it.

If Monsoon fails, farmers and policy makers in India will have tough time. But it is farmer who suffers more. Government declares drought, and announces financial packages and relief measures – which we know hardly reaches people.


Drought is a serious natural hazard that has severe implications for the affected region.

It can be defined as:

a protracted period of deficient precipitation resulting in extensive damage to crops, resulting in loss of yield

In more technical terms it is defined as:

a period of abnormally dry weather sufficiently prolonged for the lack of water to cause serious hydrologic imbalance in the affected area”

Indian Commission on Agriculture(1976) classified droughts into three categories:

1) Meteorological: when there is significant decrease in precipitation from normal over an area (i.e. more than 10%)

2)Agricultural: situation where amount of moisture in the soil no longer meets the needs of a particular crop.

3)Hydrological: it manifests from prolonged meteorological drought results in depletion of surface and ground water supplies.

Indian Meteorological Department declares a year as drought hit when rainfall received is deficient by 20%  or more  of normal rainfall.

Drought affects crop yield, carrying capacity of livestock, water scarcity – especially drinking water. It also results in decreased water table diminishing groundwater and also surface water essential for agriculture and water supply to cities.

Drought has resulted in mass migrations of people and cattle in many parts of the world. Some have resulted in social unrest – fight for food and water.

Effect of deficient rainfall is already evident in India in the power sector. There is decreased power production thanks to empty dams and rivers; also some thermal power stations need water to produce steam, and they are also affected.

The effect of drought is catastrophic to wildlife – as it results in wildfires, and also straying of wild animals into human habitats which end up being killed.

Very recently India suffered from droughts in 2002 and 2009. In 2002, there was 19% rainfall deficiency and 29% of India was hit. In 2009, there was 27% rainfall deficiency and it was one of the worst droughts in three decades.

El Nino

To understand effect of El Nino on Indian Monsoon, we can imagine a situation first: we have Dubai in the west and Mumbai in the east. Both are financial and economic hubs. That is in normal years and in normal times.

Now assume, for our example sake, that Mumbai suddenly warms up – in the financial sector. There is a boom in realty, equity markets, and bollywood.

Meanwhile, Dubai sheikhs are content in investing in their own city. But, Mumbai has become too attractive to neglect. So they divert their investments to Mumbai, bleeding Dubai economy.

Monsoon requires rain bearing clouds and a wind system called trade winds to drive them towards Indian sub continent. In the Eastern Pacific, like Mumbai of our example, a situation arises once in 3-7 years when its temperature increases above normal. This disrupts trade winds and pressure systems of the western Pacific and Indian ocean.

These western winds move toward Eastern pacific carrying with them moisture. And Monsoon bleeds. (thing is high temperature in Eastern Pacific creates low pressure, and winds always move from high to low pressure regions – here, Monsoon winds represent high pressure winds)

This unusual phenomena results in drought in India and copious rainfall off the coast of Peru which is actually a desert.

Scientists are still understanding the complete mechanism of both Monsoon and El Nino. What we know better is their consequences on our economy and people.



Mysore Silently Hosts Global Meet Of Space Scientists

Mysore, beautiful palace city  in southern Karnataka is hosting an international meet of world’s top space scientists from 75 countries to discuss about the future of space exploration and research.

It is being hosted by ISRO and the venue is serene Infosys campus.

The event is called - Cospar-2012 or the Committee on Space Research, and the theme of the event is - `Space for the benefit of mankind’. It will begin on 14th July.

COPSAR was established in 1958 at London meeting  to promote an international level scientific research in space.

Mysore is a good choice for the meet – presently weather is very pleasant, and the city has no traffic problems that plague other Indian cities. I am sure participants which include world’s topmost scientists will go back with good memories of the city.

It is in line with cultural and scientific ambiance of Mysore to host such an event. If it is successful, I am sure more such events will be hosted in future in the city.

Mysore is just 2 hr from Bangalore. But it doesn’t have an international airport though it has small domestic airport which is mostly non-functional. City is clean and most importantly it is non-congested.

Infosys campus is an ideal location as Mysore still do not have large conventional hall to host such meetings.

ISRO must be lauded for choosing lesser known but an ideal city for hosting and organizing global event.


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Western Ghats: Challenges of Sustainable Development

(From PIB)

Manish Desai*

UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee inscribed the Western Ghats of India as a world heritage site on July 1. The tag came at the 36th session of the World Heritage Committee (WHC) in St Petersburg in Russia. Altogether 39 sites that dot the Western Ghats landscape will be part of the region that has been designated as World Heritage Site. Kerala leads with 20 sites being inscribed in the heritage list followed by Karnataka with ten, Tamil Nadu five and Maharashtra four.

Western Ghats – Thematic Map

List of Western Ghats World Heritage clusters in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala and TN


Kaas Plateau Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary Chandoli National Park
Radhanagari Wildlife Sanctuary
Brahmagiri Wildlife Sanctuary Talacauvery Wildlife Sanctuary Padinalknad Reserved Forest
Kerti Reserved Forest Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary Kudremukh National Park
Someshwara Wildlife Sanctuary Someshwara Reserved Forest Agumbe Reserved Forest
Balahalli Reserved Forest
Kalakad- Tiger Reserve, Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuary, Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary,
Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary Kulathupuzha Range, Palode Range
Periyar Tiger Reserve Ranni Forest Division Konni Forest Division
Achankovil Forest Division Srivilliputtur Wildlife Tirunelveli North Forest Division
Eravikulam National Park Grass Hills National Park Karian Shola National Park
Parambikulam Wildlife

Sanctuary,Mankulam Range,Chinnar Wildlife SanctuaryMannavan SholaSilent Valley National ParkNew Amarambalam Reserve ForestMukurti National ParkKalikavu RangeAttapadi Reserved ForestPushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary

While environmentalists are rejoicing that constant international scrutiny will curb amassment of forest wealth by vested interests, the state governments have given a guarded reaction. Skeptics are of the view that the tag will make little difference to manyecologicaly destructive projects that have been implemented or are proposed in the Western Ghats.

Recognition Comes After Rejection

The world heritage tag for the Western Ghats has come after many glitches. The proposal for including 39 sites in the Western Ghats as world heritage was rejected by the World Heritage Committee in its 35th meeting last year. When the proposal for it was re-submitted for consideration this year, it was once again on the verge of getting rejected.  The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) suggested that India should review and refine the proposal to redefine the boundaries of the proposed sites to maintain the contiguity of the forests. The Indian delegation in St Petersburg, however, managed to convince the world heritage committee on the merits of India’s proposal and also discussed the issue with 21 members of the committee. The intense lobbying paid off, as the Russian delegation moved a proposal which was backed by several Asian and African nations.

Importance of Western Ghats

Older than the Himalayas, the Western Ghats are the treasure trove of bio-diversity. In fact they are recognized as one of the 8 global hot-spots harbouring a wealth of flora, fauna. The Western Ghats which begin at the Dangs in Gujarat, run through the western parts of Maharashtra, the tiny state of Goa, the Malnad region of Karnataka and the highlands of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, before ending near Kanyakumari.

The Ghats are currently known to have more than 5,000 plant and 140 mammal species, 16 of which are endemic, i.e. species found in that area alone. Notably among these being the lion-tailed macaque and the Nilgiri tahr. Out of 179 species of amphibians found in the Western Ghats, 138 are endemic to the region.  It has 508 bird species, 16 of which are endemic, including the Nilgiri flycatcher and the Malabar parakeet.

The Western Ghats are considered ecologically sensitive region with nearly 52 species moving one step closer to extinction. Habitat change, over-exploitation, pollution and climate change are the principal pressures causing bio-diversity loss.

The need to protect the ecology of the Western Ghats can hardly be over-emphasized.

The UNESCO Mandate

The UNESCO has noted with appreciation India’s ongoing commitment to conserving high bio-diversity values of the Western Ghats, but has clearly underlined that more needs to be done. The World Heritage Committee has suggested to the Indian Government to take into account the recommendations of the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel. It has also asked the government to strengthen buffer zones to provide increased protection within the nominated sites. The UN body also wants to promote participatory governance approaches through community participation to ensure equitable sharing of benefits. The panel has said that no industrial activity should be allowed without the consent of the locals.

The Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel, was constituted by the Ministry of Environment & Forests in February 2010 under the chairmanship of noted environmental expert Prof. Madhav Gadgil. The panel has identified several eco-sensitive zones in the region and recommended that they should be declared no-go areas. Among its recommendations, the panel has also called for scrapping of Karnataka’s Gundia and Kerala’s Athirapally hydro-projects, and gradual phasing out of mining activities in ecologically highly-sensitive areas of Goa by 2016.  It has also suggested setting up of a Western Ghats Ecology Authority (WGEA), as a statutory authority appointed by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, with the powers under Section 3 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.  The 24-member body is to have ecologists, scientists, representatives of civil society, as well as tribal groups, officials from the Union Environment Ministry, Planning Commission, National Biodiversity Authority, Central Pollution Control Board, and representatives of the state government as its members.

Both the Karnataka and Kerala state governments have been opposed to the recommendation to scrap the hydro projects in their respective regions. The Karnataka Government had also been opposing the World Heritage tag citing regulatory hurdles in the development of places falling under these regions. Goa’s lackadaisical attitude in conserving the Western Ghats has resulted in the state not getting any site in the list of 39.  Maharashtra Government has welcomed the World Heritage Status to Western Ghats, but that is unlikely to change the state’s present stance of not imposing a complete ban on mining and industries, except in the core areas. The state, nevertheless is encouraging green fuel movement in the villages of Western Ghats by way of up to 75% subsidy on biogas and 50% subsidy on shift to low yielding cattle, which rely on domestic fodder instead of open grazing.

Impact of UNESCO World Heritage Site

The World Heritage status could have implications on development in and around these sites as UNESCO prescribes creation of additional buffer zones around the natural world heritage sites and putting in place an overarching management authority for conservation of the selected 39 serial sites.  Conservationists also fear a mad-rush to these sensitive areas in the guise of eco-tourism. “This might trigger commercial activities in the Western Ghats, followed by construction activities like building roads, structures, power lines and other infrastructure, which will defeat the purpose of protecting the green cover and habitat protection,” says an activist associated with the Kudremukh Wildlife Foundation in Karnataka.

The Western Ghats expert Dr. Madhav Gadgil has welcomed the UNESCO gesture and said “It will hopefully strengthen the Acts like Biological Diversity Act of 2002, which empowers the local bodies like panchayats to take appropriate steps for conservation.”  The participation of locals is going to be crucial in determining the success of conservation efforts and promising sustainable development.

All along the Western Ghats in five states, there are lakhs of tribal people who have made their homes in the ghats. The Thodas of Nilgiris, Soligas of BR Hills,Malekudiyas of Belthangady, Halakki Vokkals of Uttara Kannada, the Sidhis of Kumta,Paniyas of Waynad, Kattunayakans of Malabar and many others in Goa and Maharashtra are some of them. The Perspective Plan for Protection of Biodiversity 2001-16 states that “tribal communities are part of the biodiversity and the state governments should not take them out of their natural surroundings, but empower them democratically and let the government facilities go to them.”

The ground situation for people’s participation in development is conducive in most parts of the Western Ghats. The region has some of the highest levels of literacy in the country, and a high level of environmental awareness. The democratic institutions are well entrenched, and Kerala leads the country in capacity building and empowering ofPanchayat Raj Institutions. Goa has recently concluded a very interesting exercise, Regional Plan 2021, of taking inputs from Gram Sabhas in deciding on the land use policies. Evidently, Western Ghats are an appropriate region of the country to attempt to make the transition towards an inclusive, caring and environment friendly mode of development.


*Director (Media), Press Information Bureau, Mumbai.

SOURCE-  (PIB Features.)

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India (New Delhi) to Host the Second Intergovernmental Committee Meeting for Nagoya Protocol


A Backgrounder on ICNP – 2

The Second Meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee for Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing (ICNP-2) is being held in New Delhi from 2-6 July, 2012.

The Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) is a new international treaty adopted under the auspices of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Nagoya, Japan on 29th October, 2010, after six years of intense negotiations.

The CBD, one of the two agreements adopted during the Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, is the first comprehensive global agreement which addresses all aspects relating to biodiversity. The Convention, while reaffirming sovereign rights of nations over their biological resources, establishes three main goals: (i) conservation of biological diversity, (ii) sustainable use of its components and (iii) fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the use of genetic resources. A framework for implementing the third objective of the CBD, which is generally known as access and benefit sharing (ABS) is provided for in the Convention.

All living organisms: plants, animals and microbes, carry genetic material that has potential uses for developing a wide range of products and services for human benefits, such as in development of medicines, drugs, cosmetics, enzymes, agricultural and horticultural products, environmental techniques etc.

ABS refers to the way in which genetic resources may be accessed, and the way in which benefits that result from their use are shared between the people or countries using the resources (users) and the people or countries that provide them (providers). Prior to the CBD, biological resources were considered as common heritage of mankind. The CBD, while reaffirming sovereign rights of States over their natural resources, stipulates that the authority to determine access to genetic resources rests with the national Governments and is subject to national legislation. Further, access where granted, has to be on mutually agreed terms (MAT) and subject to prior informed consent (PIC) of the Party providing such resources. Each Party is also required to take measures to ensure fair and equitable sharing of benefits on MAT arising from the commercial and other utilisation of genetic resources with the Party providing such resources. The CBD also recognises the importance of traditional knowledge associated with biological diversity, and stipulates that Parties subject to their national legislation, respect, preserve and maintain this traditional knowledge, and promote their wider application with the approval and involvement of holders of their knowledge and encourage equitable sharing of benefit arising from use of such knowledge.

As a megadiverse country rich in biodiversity and associated traditional knowledge, and with a rapidly advancing biotechnology industry, India has contributed effectively in ABS negotiations.

The objective of the Nagoya Protocol, namely, the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources, is also one of the three objectives of the CBD. The Nagoya Protocol on ABS establishes a clear framework on how researchers and companies can obtain access to genetic resources and to traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources, and how benefits arising from the use of such material or knowledge will be shared. The Protocol also sets out clear obligation for Parties to provide that users of genetic resources within their jurisdiction respect the domestic regulatory framework of Parties from where the resource has been accessed.

An Intergovernmental Committee for the Nagoya Protocol (ICNP) has been established by Parties to the Convention as an interim governing body to undertake the preparations necessary for the first Meeting of the Parties, at which time it will cease to exist. The first meeting of ICNP was held in June, 2011, in which India has been elected as one of the two Bureau members to represent Asia Pacific region. This is helping India to steer the discussions under ICNP. The second meeting of ICNP is being hosted by India in Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi from 2-6 July, 2012.

The Nagoya Protocol has been signed by 92 countries, and as on date ratified by five countries. India signed the Protocol on 11th May, 2011, and is in the process of completing interministerial consultations necessary for ratifying the Protocol. The Protocol will enter into force 90 days after its 50th ratification. The first meeting of the governing body of the Protocol (CoP-MoP) will be held concurrently with the next meeting of governing body of the CBD (CoP).

The ICNP-2 will discuss issues such as: capacity building of developing countries for implementation of the Protocol, awareness raising, modalities of ABS clearing house, procedures and mechanism to promote compliance with the Protocol, agenda for the first CoP-MoP, rules of procedure for CoP-MoP, and global multilateral benefit sharing mechanism.

The ICNP-2 meeting will be inaugurated by Ms. Jayanthi Natarajan, Minister of Environment & Forests, on 2nd July, in Vigyan Bhawan. The meeting will be attended by nearly 600 delegates from all countries of the world representing Governments, academia, UN bodies, civil society organizations, and indigenous and local communities.

The recommendations of the ICNP meetings will be considered by the CoP-11 to the CBD being hosted by India in Hyderabad in October 2012.

source – PIB

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Monsoon 2012 (India)- Forecast For July First Week

For PDF, click below:

Monsoon forecast 2012

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Rio+20 – Plenty of Empty Promises

Just concluded Rio+20 summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil has been labeled as failure of epic proportions by Greenpeace and this is not without reason.

The final outcome document of the summit brought out by the heads of 190+ countries after lots of negotiations, named  “The Future We Want”  is high on series of R – words – Recognize(148), Reaffirm(59), Resolve(16) and Renew (10) – and no wonder the document is full of RhetoRic.

Rio+20 Earth Summit, also called as United Nations Conference On Sustainable Development was doomed to fail long before all the world leaders Resolved to gather and Reaffirm to save our planet.

Europe is in deep economic crisis threatening  the world to take down with it and is preoccupied with bailing out on-the-verge-of-bankruptcy nations. European leaders have little time to think about climate change and other environmental problems when their priority is to save their banks and help corporate bigwigs  from losing their investments.

USA, which never signed Kyoto Protocol or other such agreements, is in election mood, both Republicans and Democrats want economy of their country to bounce back and generate more employment for its citizens and more clout for itself outside their country – why care for lot of CO2 in the air? God will always bless America.

China, now the largest emitter of green house gases  hiding behind the garb of ‘we developing countries – victims of policies of developed countries’ Rhetoric is in no mood to halt its growth streak.

India is sticking on to ‘common but differentiated responsibility‘ clause of Rio 1992  Earth summit, demanding developed countries to cut back their emissions and transfer funds, technology and skills to developing countries to help them mitigate the problem of climate change.

Most disturbing aspect of all these conferences is purposeful derailment of any commitments by the developed countries and their excessive priority on boosting the growth of their economies at the cost of nature and its resources.

Corporate interests precede every other interest. Leaders of all nations are enmeshed in domestic problems, and those few leaders who can bring few changes if they determine to do so, are unwilling to do so.

If saving economy is the top priority, it ultimately leads to large scale consumption and that will be at the cost of our environment.

So, all global leaders have Resolved to make their economies Green.

The concept of green economy has been put forward to bring growth and development in a sustainable manner, bringing social equity and well being without affecting balance in the environment and ecology.

This is again pipe dream. Unless governments stop dancing to the tunes of private corporates whose only aim is to maximize their profits at the cost of anything, there can not be any real solution to the problem we are all facing as inhabitants of this planet.

When our home is on fire, we need someone to douse it, not give long speeches. We need heroes at the moment, not Nero’s.



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