Prof. Pramila Goyal
Knowing when to expect heavy rain, high temperatures, air pollution levels and other kinds of weather conditions will not take us unawares but will help us be better prepared for coming eventualities. Heavy rainfall lashed Delhi-NCR in July and August 2016 and caused massive traffic jams where people were stuck for hours and often all night. Schools and offices remained closed for a couple of days. The local authorities and government faced strong criticism because of poor preparedness.
Severe weather conditions like heavy rainfall causing disastrous water logging and floods are an outcome of global climate changes and are predicted to increase in the future. Technology that can accurately predict well in advance,extreme weather conditions and weather hazards like severe air pollution levels that can shut down the city, have the potential to mitigate hardships of people,save lives and minimize damage to livestock and infrastructure .
In this situation it is imperative to continuously measure and monitor rainfall; pollution levels etc. and take necessary measures to regulate them. The Indian Meteorological Department, Ministry of Earth Sciences, Govt of India is installing an Automatic Weather Station (AWS) at The NorthCap University (NCU), Gurugram, for monitoring of various weather parameters (temperature, humidity, rainfall etc.) and follow up with research. The data will be used for research and model development activities related to Atmospheric Studies. The University will display various weather parameters on a display board on daily basis. AWS at NCU will be the only weather station in Gurugram and will provide accurate and real time weather data that will benefit the public and enable them to prepare for weather conditions specific to this area. As the saying goes ‘forewarned is forearmed’.
Secondly, air pollution in Gurugram, soon to be developed as a Smart City in NCR, has become an issue of public concern, since Air Quality Index (AQI), determined by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) and othershas revealed that PM10 and PM2.5 are 256.36 and 114.52µg/m3 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3) respectively in Gurugram during the period September 2015 to February 2016. These figures are indeed high. Amongst all air pollutants PM2.5 causes severest health threats, since it consists of ultra-fine particles that can get lodged in the lungs and reduce their capacity over time. They are linked to cardiac conditions like strokes and heart rhythm disorders. Their motion and occurrence are initiated and caused by meteorological conditions. Thus a meteorological tower and air quality monitoring station for continuous monitoring of air quality and meteorological parameters are necessary for Gurugram and neighboring areas.
Motivated by the desire of making a weather-ready nation and avoiding unmitigated disasters, certain research groups/institutions propose to collaborate with The NorthCap University, Gurugram, one of the top private universities in India, to studyand analyze AWS data for atmospheric research and development. Bigger the team better will be the achievements!
Prof. Pramila Goyal is currently working as Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Department of Applied Sciences & Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at The NorthCap University, Gurgaon.