Eye in the sky: Satellite to map farm fires in Haryana and Punjab | india-news | Hindustan Times
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Eye in the sky: Satellite to map farm fires in Haryana and Punjab

A team of the satellite meteorology division of India Meteorological Department has amassed a huge tranche of data relayed by it over the past few months, at an average rate of 142GB per day.

india Updated: Jan 29, 2017 11:19 IST
Patiala, India-20 October 2016:::Despite ban, a farmer burns paddy stubble in a field in Patiala, Punjab.
Patiala, India-20 October 2016:::Despite ban, a farmer burns paddy stubble in a field in Patiala, Punjab.(HT photo)

Next generation satellite INSAT-3DR has opened new frontiers in India’s weather forecasting and is set to equip the country with the ability to detect farm fires -- which intensify air pollution in the northern region seasonally, leaving Delhi gasping for breath.

A team of the satellite meteorology division of India Meteorological Department (IMD), housed in New Delhi’s Mausam Bhawan, has amassed a huge tranche of data relayed by it over the past few months, at an average rate of 142GB per day.

Read: Delhi haze: When farm fires poison the capital’s air

Launched in September last year, INSAT-3DR works in tandem with INSAT-3D, operational since 2014, in sending raw data and high-resolution images, zoomed up to 1 kilometre near the earth’s surface, every 15 minutes.

Dr Sunil Peshin, who heads the division, said while storing and archiving data was itself a challenge, the IMD shares information relayed by these satellites with international agencies like the US-based National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Peshin said with the operationalising of INSAT-3DR, night-time monitoring of atmospheric phenomenon like cloud cover, fog, haze and snow among others had become possible.

“Within the next few months, we hope to equip ourselves with the ability to detect farm fires as well which the NASA does currently. It is just a matter of developing the right tools and algorithm which will take a little time,” he said.

Also read: Pollution: High court tells Delhi’s neighbours to stop stubble burning

This assumes importance against the backdrop of the Delhi government blaming seasonal agro-residue burning in the fields of Haryana and Punjab and the subsequent emission of smoke for the city’s foul air, especially during October, November.