Kolkata: The traditional environmental knowledge from India's northeast and northern regions, particularly the Himalayas, integrated with modern science is important for battling climate change, suggested Nobel laureate Betsy Weatherhead here Thursday.
Weatherhead, an American environmental scientist with a background in ozone depletion and climate change, shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for her contribution on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
"It is very important to document the changes that have been happening for decades and the old people, particularly the farmers, can tell you what changes they see and what is perplexing them now," Weatherhead told IANS on the sidelines of a lecture at the Presidency University here.
A protege of Indian-American Nobel winner Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, she said India is "a wonderful place" to detect changes in weather patterns.
"In India, the people who really work close to the ground conditions in northeast and the northern hilly areas, the Himalayas, will have a lot to say on changes and that could be somehow meshed with what scientists are doing today, for forecasting other changes," said Weatherhead, who is currently working on forecasting related to renewables.
Back home, the scientist led an initiative where indigenous environmental knowledge of the Inuits is being combined with modern science to learn new things about what's happening to the Arctic climate.
Of special importance were changes experienced by the Inuit during the spring, a time of transition for many environmental processes.
Weatherhead, a research scientist with the University of Colorado at Boulder's Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, suggested India should bring on board its best scientists and get them involved with government officials to develop strategies.