Maharashtra government is finally waking up to the effects of climate change.
Reeling under crippling water scarcity, it has decided to set up Maharahstra’s first climate change study centre.
The idea of a centre was prompted by the successive weather eccentricities that the state has suffered in consecutive years --- drought, excess rainfall, hailstorms and drought again.
The centre will set up in Aurangabad, the heart of the state’s driest and the most drought-prone region of Marathwada.
The idea is simple, said officials. Get enough data to predict and understand the state’s weather so that the state is better prepared for such disasters.
In 2010, the state had signed a memorandum of understanding with the Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) for a study on climate change. But, it didn’t act on the report.
According to officials, the proposed centre will offer data enabling better weather forecast, better preparation and also a long-term change in crop patterns and water usage.
Proposed by the state disaster management cell, the plan has been approved by state relief and rehabilitation minister Eknath Khadse. “There have been varied changes in the state’s weather but there is no study of why the state has been seeing such changes. We also lack the necessary data to study the changes. Hence, we decided to set up the cell,” said Suhas Divse, director, state disaster management cell.
According to Aurangabad divisional commissioner Umakant Dangat, under whom the cell will be established, this will be the first step towards more scientific weather analysis.
“We plan to look at various weather parameters such as temperature, rainfall, wind velocity and moisture content for analysis. Such study of current and historical data will answer many questions on causes of delay in monsoons and frequent droughts, and factors that can mitigate the situation,” said Dangat.
According to Dangat, the idea of the centre was a forward-looking one. “The data analysis will enable us to look at more efficient weather forecast as well as long-term changes needed in our water usage and agriculture such as a possible change in crop patterns. The centre will not only offer local data but data from across the state.”
Divse said the state was looking at partnering with agencies such as the India Meteorological Department and the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune.