India hosts international conference on clouds and precipitation

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Pune/New Delhi, Aug 2 (IANS) Cloud seeding is being considered in many countries but science-based guidelines are needed for effective planning and ensuring best use of resources, Earth Sciences and Science and Technology Secretary, Prof Ashutosh Sharma said on Monday.

“The recent cloud aerosol interaction and precipitation enhancement experiment programme has successfully completed and results are being evaluated and protocols are being formulated. With this, India will be among the selective countries to have conducted such an experiment,” Sharma said at the virtual inauguration of the 18th International Conference on Cloud and Precipitation (ICCP) in Pune.

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The Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune, is hosting the 18th ICCP conference that is happening for the first time in Asia. Described as the ‘Olympics of Cloud Physics’, the ICCP is conducted every four years, by the ICCP Commission, an international body of scientists and students. More than 500 scientists working in cloud and related sciences are participating in the conference. Almost 25 per cent of the papers that would be presented at the conference will be by Indian scientists.

Explaining the importance of and unpredictability of the Indian monsoon, India Meteorological Department’s Director General, Meteorology, Dr Mrutyunjay Mohapatra said: “Apart from monsoon, India also experiences different characteristics of the clouds and hence precipitation in other seasons.”

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For example, NE Indian states experience floods in the month of April or May because of intense convective clouds leading to heavy downpour, which leads to lot of floods and landslides. Similarly, during winter season, India experiences western disturbances, which passes through the western and north-western parts of the country, and causes different forms of precipitations like hailstorm and snowstorms apart from rainfall, he said.

Stating that lightning is one of the severest killers, claiming 2000-3000 people every year, Mahapatra said: “Therefore cloud physics and integration modelling is still challenging and I hope this conference will help us fine tune our approach and to come out with solutions.”

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Earlier, setting the tone for inauguration, IITM scientist Dr Thara Prabhakaran at Pune said: “What happens at a cloud droplet level or inside a cloud has considerable implication on weather and climate forecast. And therefore we need better observations and detailed understanding of the basic processes to improve our models.”

“The take home message from the conference would be invaluable. Forecast of monsoon is a major problem for all models. In the context of India, improvement in forecast will be a boon for all of us,” Director IITM Prof Ravi Nanjundiah said from Pune.

ICCP Commission President, Prof Andrea Flossmann and Organising Committee Chair, Prof G.S. Bhat also spoke on the occasion.



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