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Monday, Aug 30, 2004

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Study proves greenhouse effect a reality

Our Bureau

Pune , Aug. 29

EVER wondered why people have trouble tuning into the famed Radio Ceylon, which according to old timers was a treat by itself? Of course, later entrants such as FM and other local stations may have taken away some of the charm, but the real reason lies in the sky.

A Pune scientist, Mr Gufran Beig, of the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, has proved this. His research paper `Reviews of Geophysics', along with its co-author, Mrs Suvarna Fadanavis, was sent to the World Meteorological Organisation. It has been selected for the Norbert Gerbier Mumm International Award 2005.

The paper has proved beyond doubt that greenhouse effect or global changes in the upper atmosphere is a fact, and no more just a possibility.

Dr Beig told Business Line that the project, which had been on for five years, is the first comprehensive review of the long-term trends in the atmosphere (from 50 to 100 km), on the basis of data available. The review takes into account the global temperature records for the past three decades and the weather and temperature models. Dr Beig said that the temperature in the ionosphere had decreased by about 15 degree Celsius over the past 30 years.

"If sustained, the observed apparent changes in temperature and the resulting hydrostatic contraction, which means that the atmosphere is shrinking, could have future consequences for the ionospheres such as radio and television communication, atmospheric drag on space vehicles and also possibly effect the lower atmospheric climate and weather patterns," he said.

So, what is the solution? Shift to alternate sources of energy and utilise technology to burn the fossil fuels. The greenhouse gases such as carbon-di-oxide, methane and nitrogen oxide lead to global warming in the lower layers of the atmosphere, while they cool the upper atmosphere. This reduces the density of the electrons - which help reflect radio and satellite waves - thus, weakening the signals.

Gloomy picture? But the situation is not yet out of control, said Dr Beig. Proper precautions using latest technology can reverse the situation and make the Earth a more habitable place for future generations, he said.

More Stories on : Environment | Maharashtra

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