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High Altitude Cloud Physics Observatory, Munnar

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High Altitude Cloud Physics Observatory, Munnar

Dr. M. Rajeevan, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences, Govt. of India, New Delhi inaugurated the high altitude cloud physics observatory at Rajamallay in Munnar, Kerala on 9th June 2017. This observatory is established by National Centre for Earth Science Studies (NCESS), Ministry of Earth Sciences, Govt. of India, Akkulam,Thiruvananthapuram. Dr. N. Purnachandra Rao, Director, NCESS and Dr. TN Prakash, Group Head, Atmospheric Processes Group in NCESS were also present. The observatory is established in the premises of Kannan Devan Hill Plantation Pvt Limited (KDHP) in Rajamallay. Mr.Mohan C Varghese, General Manager, KDHP and Mr. V. Thangaraj Deputy Manager, KDHP were also attended the inaugural function.

The observatory is situated at an altitude of 1820 m above mean sea level. This observatory is located 5 km away from Anamudi (2695 m), which is the highest Peak in Western Ghats.

This observatory is the highest elevation cloud physics observatory in the Tropical region over the south Asia.

Background

Why should we study clouds, rain, lightning and storms?

The observation of physical processes that lead to the formation, growth and precipitation of atmospheric clouds is essential for understanding the heavy rainfall, lightning and other atmospheric natural hazards. The knowledge on short period development of convective storms, heavy rainfall and lightning in tropics is very poor, this was mainly due to lack of observations of clouds microphysics, atmospheric electricity and vertical profiles of atmosphere.

Why should we choose Munnar ?

In-situ observations of clouds are limited due to its altitude of formation, the atmospheric aircrafts and remote sensing methods (RADAR, LIDAR, Ceilometer, Radiometers, Wind profilers, etc.) are also used for monitoring cloud and precipitation. In high altitude mountains, the low level monsoon clouds pass very close to the surface, this provide a key opportunity for in-situ measurements and a close monitoring of clouds. The geographical position of Western Ghats Mountains in Munnar provide us a unique opportunity to study the formation and propagation of clouds, lightning and rainfall. Moisture rich westerly wind from Arabian sea play a key role in the formation of clouds and precipitation over the Western Ghats. Observatory is located at Rajamallay, Munnar at an altitude of 1820 m above mean sea level. Station Latitude and Longitude are :10.1555 oN, 77.01855 oE. Observatory is located 5 km away from Anamudi (2695 m), which is the highest Peak in Western Ghats.

Research and applications

Continuous monitoring of clouds, atmosphere profiles, lightning and rainfall will be improving the knowledge about the convective cloud propagation, mountain weather and lightning. The data collected from this observatory will be used for basic research on heavy rainfall, thunderstorm, monsoon, satellite and aircraft measurements validation and high resolution super computer based weather forecasts validation.

Society benefits

Ultimately, the data collected from this observatory will be benefit to the society, through the improvements in the modeling and forecasting of atmospheric natural hazards in tropics. Western Ghat is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is recognized as a one of the eight "hottest hot-spots" of biological diversity in the world. So improving our understanding on Western Ghats weather is also important for the sustainable development and monitoring the weather and climate change over that region.

Last Updated On 06/17/2017 - 17:24
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