Particle physics experiments

Results of aerial cloud experiments over Solapur are being prepared

Even three years after the end of cloud-based experiments on Solapur, a full report on the main findings is still in preparation, according to an RTI petition filed by The Indian Express.

Making these findings of scientific reports available to the public is essential, as they will form the basis for local governments and district administration while planning emergency measures in the face of drought situations. These reports and findings will guide the evaluation of options such as cloud seeding to create artificial rain and address water scarcity for drinking, reservoir or cultivation purposes.

Given the increase in extreme and heavy rainfall and the decrease in the number of light to moderate rainy days during the monsoon season, the distribution of rainfall during the June to September season has become very unpredictable.

For example, the Indo-Gangetic Plains – Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal – ended with large-scale rainfall deficits during the monsoon season this year. According to experts, climate change will make these events more frequent.

Cloud Aerosol Interaction and Precipitation Enhancement Experiment (CAIPEX)-IV was conducted at a cost of Rs 100 crore, for two consecutive monsoon seasons of 2018 and 2019 on Solapur, a rain shadow district in Maharashtra.

The campaign aimed to build climatological data on clouds, aerosols and precipitation over the Solapur region. This, by studying a number of parameters including cloud and precipitation parameters like droplet size, rainfall rate; morphological parameters such as cloud depth and volume; thermodynamics of the atmosphere — wind speed, humidity, temperature; size, distribution and interactions of aerosols and carbon black.

Scientists from the Pune-based Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) under the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) hired a plane to conduct airborne experiments from July 14 to October 5, 2018 and from 29 July to October 15, 2019. Ground observations continue to be recorded over the locality. The total data generated, including observations and corresponding numerical simulations, was approximately 200 terabytes, RTI’s response said.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has established standards for conducting such experiments and producing related reports which are followed by the CAIPEX-IV team.

However, it is still unclear when the reports will be ready for release. On the status of compiling the report, RTI’s response said, “The report, which will be released after an internationally peer-reviewed publication, which is in preparation.”

Over the entire experiment over the two-year campaign, the RTI response reads: “There are a total of 276 cases over the two years of the randomized experiment. In each case, l The aircraft performed the seeding or non-seeding procedure based on the protocols developed by CAIPEX.

The need to better understand the role and interaction of aerosols in climate and global cloud physics vis-à-vis rain has existed. A dedicated campaign, CAIPEX, was created at IITM, which successfully conducted four cloud-centric experiments in various parts of India, including Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.

In the past, cloud seeding took center stage whenever there was insufficient rainfall threatening drought situations, especially in rain shadow regions along the peninsula. interior of India. Several cloud seeding programs have been conducted in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka over the past decade. But scientists have complained that these exercises led by the state government by hiring private agencies are unscientific and may fail to create artificial rains over parched regions.

In fact, in 2019, the Maharashtra government sanctioned Rs 30 crore after the state received low rainfall for several days of the monsoon season.