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Make earth a safe habitat, Kalam asks scientists

Special Correspondent

TIRUPATI: President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam on Monday set an agenda for scientists, especially in the context of what he called two alarming developments — doubling of the carbon dioxide content in the atmosphere and German scientist Frank Keppler's latest finding that living plants emitted up to 30 per cent of the world's methane every year.

Quoting Keppler of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics, Mr. Kalam described the finding as a new pathway of methane formation, which would change "our entire thinking" on plants vis-a-vis their role in climate change.

The President suggested to the scientists that they focus on refining Indian standard atmosphere up to a 2,000-km altitude from the sea level, improving weather prediction models, providing valuable inputs on the increasing carbon dioxide emissions to help policy-planners evolve an energy independence programme using clean sources such as solar, wind and nuclear energy and biofuel.

The President was addressing scientists — 70 from abroad and 250 from various national laboratories and Indian universities — participating in the 11th international workshop on the Technical and Scientific Aspects of the MST Radar. The five-day meet got under way at the National Atmospheric Research Laboratory (NARL), Gadanki, about 35 km from here.

Mr. Kalam also suggested further research on Keppler's finding, besides finding ways of productive utilisation of methane, development of a ground and space-based polarimetric radar to predict the rain quantum, use of high resolution satellite data in conjunction with MST radar data for refining and enlarging predictions and providing ground-based weather radars for agriculture, water management, etc.

He was delivering a lecture on the theme, "Atmosphere, a great Aerial Ocean," after inaugurating the workshop.

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman G. Madhavan Nair focussed on the need for establishing a robust and well-dispersed chain of observation systems over the Indian continent and the nearby ocean. He cited the ISRO'S initiative to develop and install the Doppler Radar at SHAR and also the automatic weather stations linked to the INSAT satellites for real time observation.

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