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The third year of the ambitious, 50-crore, five-year, cloud seeding project of the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) covering the states of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka will begin in mid-August from Begumpet airport in Hyderabad.
What distinguishes the project, which is part of the Caipeex (cloud aerosol interaction and precipitation enhancement experiment) of the IITM this year is the strong emphasis on research. This assumes significance considering that in earlier operational cloud seeding exercises undertaken by the state governments of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka in 2003-04, they were unable to quantify the impact of the cloud seeding. In a bid to aid the Caipeex team to research the project efficiently, a well equipped ground station has been set up in Mehboobnagar, near Hyderabad. Caipeex Programme Manager J. R. Kulkarni said the facility will have a Doppler radar, a 20-metre-tower to measure wind, humidity and temperature, a radiometer to monitor the profile of temperature and winds every minute and equipment to measure cloud condensation nuclei, aerosol and radiation. Kulkarni told on Wednesday, "The emphasis this year will be on testing the performance and efficacy of the cloud seeding project. We will, therefore, seed some clouds and not seed a few to monitor the difference. We are keen to understand the complexity of rainfall." As was the case in the last two years, two special, cloud seeding aircraft with pilots from South Africa will be reaching India well before the kick off date. Typically, the seeder aircraft will spray sodium chloride (salt) of 1-3 microns at the base of the clouds to form droplets. The impact of the cloud seeding will then be studied by the research aircraft. There would also be continuous monitoring of cloud and wind movement by the radar in Mehboobnagar. The project would cover the rain shadow regions of the three states and will include Madhya Maharashtra and Marathwada in Maharashtra, Rayalseema and Telangana in Andhra and North Karnataka.
Courtesy: DNA India
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