New Delhi: A Manali-based defence
establishment is studying the climate data of last 60 years to
predict the causes for recent freaky weather phenomenon being
observed in the high-altitude cold zones, the latest instance
of which is the devastating cloudburst in Leh.
"We have asked the Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment
(SASE) at Manali to conduct a study on pattern of changes
taking place in the region in the last six decades," W
Selvamurthy, Chief Controller (R&D) of the Defence Research
and Development Organisation (DRDO) said.
The need for conducting such a research was felt after it
was observed that "freaky weather" was becoming a regular
feature in the higher altitudes, he said. Such events often
find the authorities unprepared like in the case of the recent
cloudburst, which led to flash floods and mudslides, claiming
about 180 lives in Leh.
"The one-year-long study would help to know the exact
causes which in turn will help in taking preventive steps so
that authorities are prepared for any eventuality," the senior
Selvamurthy said one can clearly observe that there has
been changes in the weather in cold zones like warm
temperature extending up to the month of August rather than
June and July as was prevalent earlier.
However, he was cautious in declaring the changes as an
effect of global warming.
"We need to have a huge amount of data with us to
associate it with climate change. That is why the study is
being undertaken. SASE has a state-of-the-art laboratory
collecting data from various weather stations located at
various places at the high-altitude zones," he added.
In fact, a recent study of five years` weather data in
terms of rainfall and monthly temperature by scientists at
Leh-based Defence Institute For High Altitude Research (DIHAR)
suggested prolonged winters could have been behind the
cloudburst on August 5 in Leh which is usually considered
unnatural because it is a rain-scarcity area.
The study also pointed to increased temperature and hot
summers in the plains leading to rise in evaporation and
subsequent cloud formation in the hills. "This in turn, lead
to increased duration of snowfall in Ladakh when compared to
previous years," the study said.
The laboratory facility of SASE offers specialised snow
and ice sample storage facility, environmentally-controlled
walk-in cold chambers, equipment, instrumentation, and
scientific expertise specifically designed for detailed study
of snow, ice, and related manifestations.