Former scientist remembers IITM’s experiments with cloud seeding

Manasi Saraf Joshi 
Thursday, 5 July 2018

Kulkarni was the first person to start the artificial rain or the cloud seeding project during his stint with IITM

Pune: “I am feeling very proud and happy, as Thara Prabhakaran has taken the baton from me and is successfully carrying out the project of cloud seeding,” said former scientist with Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) Jeevanprakash Kulkarni while exclusively speaking with Sakal Times at Baramati when the test was conducted there on Wednesday. 

Kulkarni was the first person to start the artificial rain or the cloud seeding project during his stint with IITM. “We started from scratch. We had very few instruments. We faced logistic and technical problems,” said Kulkarni. 

“Now, this is going in the proper direction. Initially, we had people from other countries who were expert in this. Now, we have our own expertise and the instruments are indigenous,” he said. 

“We also got a good response from the Centre. The only problem we faced was inadequate samples as those were not available during my time. We did carry out a seeding programme in Hyderabad, but because of fewer samples it was not much successful,” he added. 

“The future is very bright not only for cloud seeding, but all the data we get will help to understand the rainfall process in the cloud. The data we will go for improvement in numerical weather forecasts. All the cloud parameters are essential climate variables. There are observations from satellites, but those observations have 100 per cent uncertainty. What are the values of these parameters, what is the liquid carrying capacity, what is the absorption capacity, droplet confrontation? All these are important to know the climate change. So understanding the microphysics of cloud is important not only for weather forecast but also for climate change,” he said. 

“I am the only person selected on WMO from India and was a member from 2012 to 2016. I was part of various projects and had seen the operational cloud seeding. This is research cloud seeding. In research programme you cannot seed clouds which lie immediately next to it,” he said, adding, “In operational project, when people are in need of water, every cloud is seeded to get the rainfall. The purpose of this programme is to prepare the guidelines for future projects and other programmes as we get a drought every three years,” he said. 

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