For the first time, an Indian weather station is being set up near a Himalayan glacier to study the impact of climate change and provide weather details and warnings to mountaineers.
"We are setting up an Integrated Sensor Suite (ISS), a warning and recording system that includes a microprocessor controlled lightweight weather station, at the Chhota Shigri glacier in Himachal Pradesh," said P.C.S. Rautela, secretary of the Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF).
According to a report by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), several glaciers in India are falling prey to global warming.
"If the trend continues, then not many glaciers will be left for mountaineers to climb by the middle of the century. We want mountaineering, not rock climbing," said Rautela, a retired vice-marshal of the Indian Air Force.
"The station will allow scientists to stay and study the amount of precipitation, the impact of carbon dioxide, ultra violate rays on ice and the age and longevity of current snow slabs. All this will help India develop a model on climate change," Rautela told IANS.
The ISS is a microprocessor controlled, compact lightweight weather station that will update climbers and rescue teams with essential data on temperature, humidity, solar and ultraviolet radiations, wind velocity and direction and rain gauge.
He said the station would be able to give quick forecasting, onscreen graphics, view icons, weather warnings and forecasts on its built-in LCD console.
The system also includes a solar panel to power it and a data logger that can record sensor data of six months for retrieval later. It will help in generating crucial real time data with regard to global warning and climate change in the glaciers.
He said the station would use solar and wind power to meet its daily energy requirement.
"It would be a complete green endeavour. A three-member team, including one glaciologist and me, will leave for Chhota Shigri for field inspection. We hope the station will come up by the year end," he said adding that the initial investment would be Rs.2 million.
Rautela, who has undertaken over 12 expeditions, said they expected favourable cooperation from the ministry of earth science. "We have not asked for any financial help but will certainly work in cooperation with the government."