Tag: weather (page 1 of 2)

In New Indian Express: Citizen Weather Network

The Citizen Weather Network and Know Your Climate is featured by Ashwini M Sripad in The New Indian Express today:

The project started with two stations, and now the number has gone up to seven. Five more are in the making. The idea is to have at least 30 to 40 such stations across the city.

“It is a continuous process. We need to capture real-time data for a complete year, covering summer, the rainy season and winter. We need to repeat it for some years so that we can compare the data. We get fresh insights into our climate over time,” he said.

The group is planning to link the data to Weather Underground (www.wunderground.com), which provides real-time weather information on the Internet. “They also have a mobile app through which messages can be sent to users,” he said.

Small stations could be set up at schools where kids could get to see data collection demonstrations, he explained. “There is scope to develop a mobile app showing what is happening in a neighbourhood. For instance, in Bengaluru, when it is raining in one part, the other is dry. If you know micro details, you can plan you day,” he explained.

Ashwini M. Sripad, The New Indian Express, 21 February 2015.

The New Indian Express-Bengaluru, 21 FEBRUARY 2015

Help us grow the Bangalore Citizen Weather Network

by Saurabh Chandra

An update is due since our last announcement in July. We have been making announcements on twitter and Facebook but here is a brief summary of the progress made till date.

Our technology partner Yuktix has deployed 7 automated weather stations across Bangalore. In the last 6 months or so, the automated weather station (AWS) has been running robustly since the last 4 months or so (except for a DNS issue with Airtel last week). There is a version with solar backup and a version that is directly plugged-in to power too. We have versions with institutional mountings and also with light-weight balcony mounts. Each AWS has:

  1. Temperature, Pressure and Humidity sensors mounted inside a Stevenson Screen
  2. A rain bucket with a tipping bucket sensor
  3. A control unit that beams the data reliably over the mobile network (each station comes with a pre-paid data plan for 3 years

The AWS transmits data continuously every few minutes to the cloud and the data is available in graphs or is downloadable for analysis by anyone. An Android app will be available soon to view the data.

We are excited to announce that our field trial phase is successfully closed and we are now open to taking pre-orders for stations that you can play host to. Our target is to pepper Bangalore with 25+ stations and create an open data network of the same. For this community project we have a special price from Yuktix for personal stations at 35k (without solar) + installation charges if any. The stations will take 4-5 weeks for delivery from the time of pre-order.

Fill this form for your pre-order and join the network.

Saurabh Chandra is a tech entrepreneur in Bangalore and a weather enthusiast at Know Your Climate.

In Citizen Matters: Weather Web around Bangalore

Know Your Climate and the Bangalore Citizen Weather Network is featured in Citizen Matters today.

Two young weather enthusiasts from the city have initiated the Citizen Weather Network that aims to capture real-time weather data from 30 locations in Bengaluru and make it freely available for public view over a web API. With five stations already installed in different parts of the city, they have started tracking Bengaluru’s microclimate. These indigenously developed Automated Weather Stations (AWS) house sensors for recording temperature, pressure, humidity and rainfall. Each weather station costs under Rs 50K.

The initiative, the brainchild of Pavan Srinath, Head of Policy Research at Takshashila Institution in Ulsoor, started in the form of a blog – Know Your Climate. As Srinath puts it, the blog was an attempt to make a serious study on the climate change by analysing the existing data available in the public domain, and placing it before the public in a simpler way. In 2014, Saurabh Chandra, CEO of Razorfish Neev, joined hands with Srinath to bring the idea to fruition.

Srinath says, “We approached Rajeev Jha of Yuktix Technologies to work towards building an indigenous weather station. Jha accepted the challenge and within eight months the first two Automated Weather Stations were ready.” The pilot stations were installed on the rooftop of Srinath’s house in Jayanagar and Saurabh’s house in Hebbal. Each station was developed at a cost of under Rs 50,000, much lower compared to the conventional stations that are built at a cost of Rs 2 lakh.

The modular weather stations are installed with sensors for measuring four factors – temperature, pressure, humidity and rainfall. While temperature, pressure and humidity sensors are housed within a radiation shield, the rain gauge is maintained separately. All these are connected to a main circuit board that logs all the data. The data is updated once in every three minutes which helps gauge the intensity of rain and weather pattern over time.

Jha vouches for the reliability of the data generated using the considerably cheap, but accurate sensors. “The instruments that we use in the station have been chosen after studying the specifications for an Automatic Weather Station published by the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD),” he says.

These sensors collect the sample of the environment every 15 seconds. As many as 12 samples are taken for each transmitted reading. “We provide the data in par with the standards set by the IMD and World Meteorological Organisation. I can assure data accuracy of +/- 0.1 degree,” he affirms.

Read the full article at Citizen Matters

Know Your Climate featured in Economic Times

Know Your Climate and the Citizen Weather Network is featured in Economic Times today in a piece by Krithika Krishnaswamy on how individuals and groups are taking the initiative to make India’s cities smart.

ET2

“Indian school education often focuses on the climate and geography of India and the world, but we never learn enough about how things work in our city or town,” said Pavan Srinath, who runs Know Your Climate, a not-for-profit that was started in 2011 to tell data-driven stories on Bengaluru’s weather and climate.

Know Your Climate has five weather stations up and running — 25 more to come up by the end of this year, to start recording high quality, granular weather data from the city.

Once the data is collected, Know Your Climate aims to build apps that tell people when to commute or when to bring with them an umbrella or a jacket. The group also wants to set up stations on schools in the future, such that students learn geography and climate by understanding the weather in their in own schools. 

Yuktix, a Bengaluru-based startup, has developed these weather stations at Rs 50,000, a fraction of the cost it takes to import the equipment. “The idea is to show government organisations a model for both deploying weather stations and for making data public,” said Srinath. “It is my hope that the India Meteorological Department also modernises and serves the public much better in the coming years.”

[Full Article — Economic Times, Jan 22, 2015]

Not every disaster is man-made

By Pavan Srinath

Uttarakhand has been a scene of unfolding horror for the past four days, and is a human tragedy occuring at a scale that is staggering. For many people in India, it is also a disaster that hits home – as millions have visited Uttarakhand on pilgrimage and have seen the places that we now see on the television with dread.

The scale of damage due to floods is not yet known, but is certainly immense. The loss of human lives above all, and the destruction of public and private property will likely haunt the residents for many years. The loss of lives, currently estimated in the hundreds – can go up to the thousands or even more, given the large number of people currently reported as missing. A disaster such as this requires rapid, thorough rescue and relief operations, of which by all counts the army and the state officials are doing an admirable job. Thereafter comes time for rebuilding and sombre reflection, as well as thorough investigations into the causes for the disaster, the amplifiers, and the role of human error, malfeasance and failures.

What do we have instead? Loud war cries that the disaster in Uttarakhand was man-made, and that political parties gave in to various mafias and increased the scale of destruction unleashed upon much of Uttarakhand.

One human factor that can be brough into this discussion as a causative agent is climate change, but only with great care. While anthropogenic climate change has been established as a very likely cause for the increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events in India and elsewhere in the world, there are two strong caveats to this link. First, it is impossible to say whether an individual event has a greenhouse gas or a warm climate footprint. This is the case for everything from Hurricane Sandy to the cloudburst over Uttarakhand. Second, empirical evidence for the relationship between the monsoon and climate change is still very limited. There are many theories on what climate change is likely to do to the Indian summer monsoon, but much of it is still unknown. While the summer monsoon hit the coast of Kerala around the usual date this year, its march over the long leagues from Kanya Kumari to the Himalayas was exceptionally quick. The most honest, if uncomfortable, statement is that we don’t know if climate change caused the cloudburst over Uttarakhand, nor do we know that climate change could make such events more frequent or intense.

The reasons for declaring the disaster as man-made were given in a Down to Earth home page feature as the increase in hydel projects in the state, roads and infrastructure destabilising the mountains, and development increasing the frequency and intensity of landslides.

Is any of this true? On the first count of hydroelectric power projects and excessive dam-building in Uttarakhand, the reality is far from the rhetoric. While it is true that there are ambitious plans for dam construction in the state, especially on the Ganga and its tributaries, very few projects have actually been implemented and are operational. The map below from SANDRP shows that on the Ganga, only 16 hydel projects had been commissioned, 13 were under construction, and 54 were proposed as of a year or two ago. The picture has not changed rapidly since then. We can do better than blaming widespread floods on paper dams.

Source: http://sandrp.in/basin_maps

Source: http://sandrp.in/basin_maps

On all other counts of “development” causing or worsening the disaster, the litmus test is the impact at Kedarnath. The holy pilgrimage site of Kedarnath is a valley on the banks of the river Mandakini that lies high above much of the upper Gangetic basin at 3600 metres above sea-level [See Kedarnath on Google Maps]. Above it is wildnerness and  inhabitable mountains, and motorable roads are yet to reach the place. Pilgrims drive up to Gauri Kund, and trek up the last 14 kilometres, climbing some six thousand feet in the process. There are no roads, bridges or extensive artificial interventions around Kedarnath, except for the temple and surrounding hotels and housing that has sprung up.

In spite of this, Kedarnath has been among the worst hit areas in this disaster. Floodwaters swept into the settlement, bringing with them vast amounts of debris and cutting off access for about 8,000 people from the rest of the region.

We have to live in an evidence-free world to say that the horrific natural disaster that struck Kedarnath was man-made. Kedarnath, as the map below shows, lies high above even proposed dams and has only the most minimal amounts of development. It is the benchmark by which one can say that the flooding in Uttarakhand has been more prolific than any other in living memory, above and beyond any “man-made” effects.

Source: http://sandrp.in/basin_maps

Source: http://sandrp.in/basin_maps

All this has been said in full recognition of the fact that Uttarakhand has always been profoundly vulnerable to flooding, and that there has always been a high risk of natural disasters. The notion that such floods could happen some day was far from unknown. The hope that it may not happen to us or in our lifetimes as free of evidence as some of the claims I mentioned above. Places between Rudraprayag and Rishikesh on the Ganga have evidently not built any resilience against an event such as this.

Unfortunately, the value for human life in India still remains disturbingly low. It is specious to singularly blame governments for this, without also pointing fingers to all of us as a society. But it is certainly better to reflect on how we can build resilience to natural disasters than to think in terms of false choices such as “Is it just another flash flood or is it a man made disaster?“.

Originally written by Pavan Srinath in The Transition State blog on the Indian National Interest.

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