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New weather station at Agumbe

Last updated: 13 December, 2009
Subhash Chandra N S, Bangalore, DHNS: 23:01 IST

To monitor climate change impact on rain forests in the country

Even as the developed and developing nations are indulging in mutual recrimination over climate change at the Copenhangan summit, a silent effort to study the impact of climate change on the rain forests of the country has begun in the tiny village of Agumbe in Karnataka.


Arguably the wettest places in the country, Agumbe now hosts India’s first automatic weather station exclusively to monitor changes in rain forests, courtesy well known herpetologist and Whitley gold awardee Dr Romulus Whitaker. This significant contribution is aimed at protecting the country’s rich biodiversity.

The round-the-clock weather station aimed at collecting highly accurate data is established with the Rolex award money conferred on Whitaker in 2008.

Equipped with sophisticated technology and trained manpower, the station will gather the climate data round the clock and will supplement the work of researchers on the impact of climate changes on the biodiversity in the region, spread of diseases, invasive species etc.

“We aim to use this environmental data, starting with accurate meteorological data to supplement and support research in the region. Weather data parameters will actually be collected based on the needs of ongoing research and projects for future" said Samir Whitaker, Trustee, Draco Trust, that is managing the station.

The station hosts state-of-the-art equipment that will furnish information on parameters such as solar radiation, wind speed, temperature, rainfall and humidity and will be linked with other stations proposed to be set up.

Work on weather stations at North eastern region, North Western regions, Northern Side of Western Ghats and Andaman islands will be ready by next year
“Basically it is to establish a network of rain forest research stations (each with its own automatic weather station) around the country, with a focus on the impact of climate change and other environmental factors on the biodiversity hotspots of India," Whitaker said. The changes will be examined at several levels, including at a species level - monitoring and identifying change in them.

With little data available currently on the climate change impact on the tropical rain forests, the weather station attains significance for conservation and to the researchers working on species. The station records every minute changes in the weather, that can be be stored in its computer for several months and can be later on downloaded for analysis.

The pilot project which became functional last week is looking for the collaboration for Geo Information Service (GIS) and other aspects with various research institutions.

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