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New device to predict snow storms

tech reviews Updated: Jul 29, 2007 11:49 IST

Scientists have indigenously developed an infra-red device that can predict ice-storms and avalanches, a boon for troops deployed in high-altitude areas.

The infra-red probe, developed by researchers at Chandigarh-based Central Scientific Instruments Organisation (CSIO), monitors snow temperatures round-the-clock to keep a close watch on the rate of glacial melt.

"The indigenously developed device assists defence forces in troop deployment by providing them details about inclement weather in advance," MA Shamshi, a CSIO scientist whose team developed the instrument, told PTI.

The device has been installed at few places in the upper reaches of Jammu and Kashmir and Himanchal Pradesh and has started transmitting data via satellite on an hourly basis to the Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment (SASE) in Chandigarh.

The instrument can operate in harsh weather in snow-bound areas and give warnings about the time and area likely to be hit by ice-storms and avalanches.

It can operate in extreme temperatures as low as minus 40 degrees Celsius and as high as 50 degrees, withstand high relative humidity and wind speeds of up to 200 km an hour, Shamshi said.

The instrument's main component is a detector that converts radiant energy into electrical energy. This is read by a processor and displayed on a LCD screen.

Similar devices were earlier imported from Finland and Switzerland but the indigenous one costs only a fraction of their price.

The device works on a simple principle that all objects emit infra-red radiation generated by vibrations and rotations of atoms and molecules within matter, Shamshi said.

"It has censors that receive infra-red radiation generated by vibrations and rotations of atoms and molecules within matter. As temperature increases, molecular activity increases and the object generates more energy," he said.

The CSIO has already received orders for over 50 devices from the army, Border Roads Organisation and paramilitary forces like the Central Reserve Police Force and Border Security Force.

It plans to install two more instruments in the upper Himalayan region in the next few weeks to measure the hardness profile and snow temperature.

"We will have field trials this winter. Snow hardness will be measured for every five mm to generate a profile of all snow caps," another CSIO scientist said.