22nd National Children’s Science Congress
Focal theme: Understanding Weather and Climate
Weather is the instantaneous state of the atmosphere, or sequence of states of the atmosphere with time, which can be defined as the condition of the atmosphere at any given time and place. Climate, on other hand, is the average as well as variability of weather conditions prevailing in an area over a long period of time, known as the Statistics of Weather.
Precipitation, temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, and wind are the important elements of weather and climate. It is the result of the interaction of four basic physical elements- the Sun, the Earth’s atmosphere, the Earth itself, and natural landforms on the Earth’s surface.
The geographical situation of any locality/area/region in relation to its latitudinal and longitudinal position, altitude, distribution of land and water, relative location from water bodies, surface cover (viz. vegetation/snow/rocks etc.) are some of the natural factors that influence the weather and climatic condition of that particular location.
Moreover, weather and climate are among the key factors that determine the nature, condition, and pattern of natural resources (e.g. water, soil, flora, and fauna). State of temperature, humidity, and precipitation in temporal context in a year determine season and climatic condition in long temporal context. These are responsible for determining the forms of water, soil-forming processes and creating support systems for floral growth; which again determine the faunal composition. These natural resource bases along with weather and climate determine our way of life (viz. occupation, housing, food habits, dress style, transportation, etc.). In totality, weather and climate form the base of the economy and culture of that area. In this perspective, any significant change in weather and climatic condition creates serious impact not only on natural resources but also on the biosphere as a whole, including human life.
Scientists have studied global climate change patterns, apparent from mid to late 20th century onward, attributed largely to increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by uses of fossil fuels and other green house gases. Averaged over all land and ocean surfaces, temperature has increased by roughly 1.53°F (0.85ºC) from 1880 to 2012, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (the IPCC’s Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis, Summary for Policymakers, Page 5). This climate change is considered as one of the most important global environmental challenges being faced by humanity today, with its implication on natural ecosystem, food production systems, fresh water supply, health and weather related calamities.
India’s weather and climatic conditions are naturally controlled by her geographical location (i.e. its latitudinal and longitudinal extents) and the conditions along her boundaries. (Himalayan ranges from northwestern to northeastern corner in the northern side, existence of Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea as well as Bay of Bengal in southwest to southeast). The country also encompass the Western Ghats, which is one of the 34 Biodiversity hot-spots of the world; extending along the West coast of India from the Vindya Satpura ranges in the North to the Southern tip of the peninsula to a stretch of 1,600 km, receiving an average of nearly 6000 mm of rainfall every year.
The latitudinal and longitudinal extension within the country has greater implication on variation of solar days or sunshine hours from east to west, which is one of the fundamental factors regulating weather and climatic variations in the country. Further, within the country, there are variations in distribution of land and water, altitudinal differences, vegetation type and coverage. All these together have given rise to six different climatic zones and twelve agro-climatic zones.
However, these climatic and agro-climatic zones are facing serious problems of various kinds due to the impact of climatic/ weather changes. For more than a decade, weather and climatic anomalies are taking place in all the agro-climatic regions of the country. Moreover, winds during monsoon mainly control Indian climate; highly influenced by the summer monsoon. But in the last few decades, onset of monsoon over India is changing resulting in variations in the amount and distribution of rainfall.
In this context, there is a need to have proper understanding of weather and climate and its changes, mainly oriented towards different aspects, factors, and attributes of weather and climate along with their implications on the natural ecosystem and on the way of life of living beings. At the same time, focus on climate change aspects, including mitigation and adaptation are also strongly recommended
I: Weather around You
Weather is the immediate physical environmental spur and situation we face in our day-to-day life and it influences our decisions, like what to eat, what to wear, where to live, etc. However, rarely do we make a systematic effort to understand it better. Therefore, systematic approach for understanding weather of a locality/area will be the main concern of this sub-theme, which can help the children to make their decisions more precise and pragmatic, particularly adjusting with the weather conditions.
Such systematic studies can be carried out through methodological approaches of observation, measurement of weather attributes (like temperature, daily sun shine hours, humidity, wind, precipitation, etc along with other elements like presence of gaseous components, suspended solid particles, etc), analysis of collected information and results of measurement followed by forecasting and interpretation of findings and correlating the same with decision making context and processes. In doing so, children can also design and develop their own tools and instruments for measurement and analysis. However, there are many sources where daily weather information are available (like website of Indian Meteorological Department, News Paper, TV /Radio weather bulletin, etc), one can go for comparison of the collected with available information from such sources; time period based trend analysis and its impact in local context, etc.
Instead of simple information collection from secondary sources, analysis of long-term trends or some experimental and field based measurement of components must also be there in such study. Such trend analysis will make children understand the difference between weather and climate.
II: Impact of Human Activities on Weather and Climate
Human population has been growing in geometrical proportion in the last two centuries. Growing population and increasing consumption of goods and services per head after the industrial revolution requires in increasing manner environmental resources (life support systems like air, water, and soil and other natural resources) for its survival and sustenance. The pressure on these has also influenced the weather conditions and climate locally and globally. The growth in agriculture, animal husbandry, fisheries, urbanization, transportation, deforestation, and industrialization caused changes in land use and bio-geo-chemical cycles. Exploration and utilization of energy sources for the increasing demands of the growing society pumped in large quantities of green house gases to the atmosphere causing global warming.
At the first level, children need to understand what greenhouse gases (GHG) are and how they allow the radiated heat of the Sun to come through at high temperature, but do not let the return radiation from earth at lower temperature to pass through easily. Children also should know how the warm blanket around us keeps us comfortable at the current earth’s temperature, instead of freezing us to death at an average minus 15 o C. There also a need to understand the Carbon cycle, the manner in which Carbon Dioxide, the major GHG cycles between the earth and the atmosphere.
At the second level they need to understand that the trend has become clear in recent years that climate – the long term weather pattern – is changing, and changing so rapidly, that life forms on earth including humans face a huge challenge in adapting to this change. (The last time the earth heated up by 2 o C, coming up to the current level from the ice age, it took 18,000 years. It is now set to go up by another 2 o C within a matter of 200 years.)
The third aspect to realise is that this rapid increase is caused entirely by human activity – the activity of digging up millions of years of energy buried deep inside earth in the form of carbonaceous fuels, coal and oil, burning them in increasing quantities each year and sending up carbon dioxide, ever since the industrial revolution. This changing lifestyle has also resulted in other GHGs too going up in increasing quantities.
Children need to be made aware of the results of this human induced climate change such as weather disasters, disease spread, heat stress, drought, water shortage, crop yield decline, sea level rise, large scale migration and such other.
Children are expected to observe and analyze the human activities which contribute to weather and climate changes in their locality and they can review the situation, scientifically /logically design and propose alternatives to improve the human life as well as control /reduce the negative impacts of human activities on weather and climate. Children also need to look at the impacts of human induced climate change or weather and climate related disasters like drought, cloudburst, landslide , flood, thunderstorm, cyclone, etc, which in turn could be linked to disease spread, stress due to heat and cold waves water shortage, crop yield decline, crop loss, weather and climate induced migration/refugee situations etc.
III: Weather, Climate and Ecosystems
Weather and climate have various significant elements such as Rain, Temperature, Wind and Humidity that impact the occurrence, abundance, seasonality and behaviour of living organisms as well as quality of air, water and soil. They have direct or indirect effect on the various components of ecosystems. With the variation of temperature, humidity and precipitation the quality of water, soil forming process, floral growth, and faunal composition may undergo change.
India’s weather and climatic conditions change from region to region on their geographical locations and conditions; hence the parameters of weather vary from place to place. Due to such variations, the distribution of life forms, soil quality and water quality also vary from place to place.
All weather and climatic parameters affect the ecosystem elements in various ways. In turn, biotic elements influence the development of microclimate of an ecosystem. Phenology of plants, occurrence, populations, and behaviour of various floral and faunal elements change according to weather and climate. Disasters such as floods, droughts, unprecedented rains, inconsistencies in seasonal temperature etc on various ecosystems are the consequences of climate variability at a macro level
Under this sub-theme, we need to understand and observe the changes in weather parameters as well as the changes in biotic and abiotic parameters around us. This will enable us to study the effect of weather/climate on ecosystems. Systematic observations, measurement, and analysis of weather parameters and the biotic and abiotic elements make us understand effect of these parameters on the functioning of ecosystem.
There is a need to study basic elements of weather first, viz. temperature, air pressure, wind, humidity and precipitation before concentrating on their impact assessment or relationship with abiotic and biotic components.
The projects encompassing effect of weather parameters on abundance of flora and fauna and seasonality, movements, breeding, feeding and other behavior patterns falls under this sub-theme, Behaviour of animals, seasonality of occurrence and flowering of plants, migration of animals, birds, fishes and insects etc are climate dependent.
Similarly, variable weather conditions can affect quality of air, water and soil which in turn affect biotic elements. Some of the changes such as pH, amount of dissolved salts, organic matter in soil and water etc. are measurable. Quality of air in terms of pollutants such as carbon dioxide, methane, NOX content is measurable.
Simple experiments can be conducted on the effect of light period, light intensity, atmospheric temperature, humidity and soil moisture on growth of plants. Stomata count as surrogate for the production of Oxygen, Rate of Carbon sequestration in different urban and rural situations etc. also can be done by the children.
IV: Weather, Climate – Society and Culture
Weather and climate determine the physical environmental condition of an area through their impact on abiotic and biotic elements and that condition in turn influences human way of life in the forms of belief, livelihood, and social, institutional, as well as cultural practices. These together reflect the social and cultural system of a locality/area/region. The social and cultural systems have an adaptation mechanism to local weather and climatic situation through their practices fulfilling basic needs of food, shelter, and clothing through designed livelihood activities, food system, settlement and housing, management of natural resources etc. However, there are many practices associated with social and cultural system, which have negative impact on natural resources and in turn responsible for anomalies of weather and climate, such as human induced climate change. On the other hand there are many examples that human beings face up to extreme weather situations through their social and cultural practices based on Indigenous Knowledge and try to cope up with such weather conditions and disasters.
In broad perspective, this sub-theme will cover issues for systematic studies, like, local food practices, its seasonality and adjustments to weather situation, local calendar system and agricultural cycle and adjustments with weather, flood/drought adjustment approaches of different community/ locality, traditional knowledge on weather prediction, cultural practices, modern consumption practices and their impact on ecosystem and further impact on climate patterns etc. Studies taken up would try to establish the science behind these practices and the societal efforts to adopt with climate change as well, are expected
V: Weather, Climate and Agriculture
Agriculture is the backbone of our country. Weather and climatic condition determine all the aspects of agricultural practices, which is very much vivid in all agro- climatic regions of the country. In present day context, agriculture is most vulnerable to weather and climate changes because of its seasonality and narrow range of weather conditions influencing crop and livestock production. Last several decades people across the globe witnessed above normal temperatures and more rapid warming that occurred during the last half of the 20th century. Climate change presents a profound challenge to food security vis-a-vis livelihood and development all around as well.
As an effect of climate change, heavy rainfall events increased resulting in floods, and more intense droughts occurred affecting agricultural and allied sectors (cropping cycle, population, and density of pollinators, flowering pattern, agricultural produce including animal production etc). On the contrary, modern agricultural practices (both above and below the ground) also play vital role in spurring climate change through release of green house gases, depletion of soil carbon, desertification, salinization etc. Under this sub-theme, children can observe changes in the weather regulating factors and their impact on agricultural system in their own area and find out some method/technique to mitigate. Moreover, there are many practices related with seed selection, irrigation, soil management etc., which help in adaptation process.
Children can also carry out study in different aspects of agriculture, right from seed selection, land preparation to harvesting and processing etc. It may be on how weather conditions influence our agricultural practices; impact of changing conditions on agriculture; impact of agricultural practices on local weather conditions, how to overcome the adverse climatic weather condition for agricultural practices. Age old practices in agriculture in different areas and how these are related to local weather conditions can also be studied.
VI: Weather, Climate and Health
Weather and climate influence environmental and social determinants and also affect health of the living beings. Health – as defined by World Health Organization is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well being and not merely absence of disease. Health, whether of human or animal, mainly depends on safe drinking water, nutrition, sanitation or hygiene and the likes.
Likewise, any variation in weather or climatic conditions adversely affects the health of living beings. Outcome of these changes; heat or cold waves, drought or flood, storms etc., takes its toll on the health, manifested by occurrence of diseases, or even sometimes an outbreak of epidemics.
In the light of the fact that weather and climate have potential impact on the health of human beings and animals, child scientists can undertake studies to understand the causative factors, the concerns arising and the corrective measures to be adopted to lessen the adversity. Ailments like water / air / vector borne diseases (diarrhoea, malaria..), infections (bacterial or viral…) and infestations (parasitic..), zoonosis, reemergence of certain diseases and others which are influenced by the variability of weather and climate are some of the areas for the child scientists to ponder upon and take up project works.
List of Experts who can be contacted in relation to the Focal Theme as well as the Sub themes (Participants in the National Brainstorming Workshop held at
Puducherry from 1st to 4th of May 2014).
1. Prof. E KUNHIKRISHNAN
University college Trivandrum
TC 1/2021, JAYAMANJU, KUMARA PURAM, TRIVANDRAM
Tel.:09447653786 (M), Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Dr.P. Pramod, Senior Scientist
Sálim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History, Anaikatty. P.O. Coimbatore, Tamilnadu. Phone 91 422 2203115 Cell.09443167773
3.Dr.M.R. Ramesh kumar
Chief Scientist,National Institute of Oceanography, Goa-403004
Mob.No.9423056323., Email: email@example.com
4. Prof. A.S. Unnikrishnan,
Chief Scientist, National Institute of Oceanography,
Dona Paula – Goa, 403 004, Mob.No.9637097405, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
5. Dr.S. Dinakaran,
Associate Proff,The Madura College , No120\3, Siva Siva st, Alagappan Nagar,
Madurai-625003, Mob.No. 9994900064., Email: email@example.com
6. Harish Bhat, Scientist ,
Centre For Ecological Sciences, IISC, Bangalore 560012
Mob. NO.9845304383.Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Associate Prof,P.G.Department of Plant Science , Avvaiyar College, Karaikkal, Puducherry UT, Mob. No.9489260386., Email: email@example.com
8. Prof.(Mrs.)V. Geethalakshmi,
Agro Climate Research Centre,Agricultural College and Research Institute, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore-641003
Phone 422-2430657 Mob. No.9994433479.Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
9. Dr. Pulin Bihari Chakraborty,
Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswavidyalaya A/81 Lake Gardens, Kolkata. 700045
10. Dr. Jayanta Kr. Sarma
Freelance consultant (Environment and Development), Debasis Residency Near N.HNO.34 Manikachanpath Kailash Nagar
Beltola Guwahati -781028, Tel. :09613853818, Email- email@example.com
11. Dr. Hemchandra.C. Pradhan’
Former Director, Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education, 702/B-1, Geetanjali Krishna Kamal CHS, Sector-21, Nerul East, Navi Mumbai – 400706 Mob. No.09867050422, Email- firstname.lastname@example.org
12. Dr. Lalit Sharma,
Science Communicator, Veterinary Consultant,
Managing Trustee- Vigyan Setu Foundation
D-28/1:1, Sector-3, Sanpada, Navi Mumbai-400705.
Tel.:09322264173 Email- email@example.com
13. Dr. Sunil Nautiyal,
Associate Professor of Ecology,
Institute for Special and Economics Change Dr.VKRV Rao Road,
Nagarabhavi P.O. Bangalore-560072, Tel.:080-23215468, 23215519,
Extn: 246(O), 09731564784, Fax:080-23217008 09886092494(M)
14. Dr. Sudip Mitra
Asst. Prof,Department of Environmental Science, Tezpur University, Assam- 784028, Mobile:8486066392, Email- firstname.lastname@example.org
15. Er.C.E. Karunakaran,
Senior Scientist , Centre for Ecology & Rural Development, Puducherry
No.26, Spurtank road,Chetpet, Chennai.Mob. No.9381041615.
16. Prof. K.R. Janardhanan,
17. Prof. U.C. Mohanty
Indian Institute of Technology Bhubaneswar
School of Earth, Ocean and Climate Sciences, Bhubaneswar-751 013
Phone No.(O) 0674 2576117
18. Dr. A.V.M.Subba Rao
Senior Scientist (Agromet)
Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture, Santoshnagar, Hyderabad-500059Mob.No.9640386358
19. Dr.V.R.S. Rawat ,Additional Director,
Indial Council of forestry Research and Education, Dehradun-248006
Phone : 0135-2224805 Mob. No.9412058405.
20. Dr.Hemant Pande, Proffesor,
Head, Dept. of Chemistry, Hislop College Nagpur, (M) Mob.No.9096050151, Email: email@example.com
21. Dr.M.A. Haque. Director(Ret),
Ministry of ENV.& Forest,C-1713 Palam Vihar,Gurgaon – 122017
Mob.No.9313707275. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
22. Dr.V.Krishnan, OSD, STC, DSE.
No.7, Nethaji Street,Sorna Nagar, Ariyankuppam, Puducherry -7
23. Dr. Sultan Ahmed Ismail,Mananging Director, ERF
98,Baaz Nagar,3/621, East Cost Road,Palavakkam, Chennai-600041
044 24920786, Tel.: 09384898358
24. Dr. K.V. Devi Prasad
Professor , Department of Ecology & Environment Science, Pondicherry University, Mob.No.8220933094, Email:email@example.com
25. Er.P.K.Rajan, Writer, Science Publication,TNSF,
W481\C1, Praveen Virata flats, 2nd Avenue, Anna Nagar, West Ext. Chennai.
26. Khwaja Mohd Rafi,
General Secretary,NCSTC Network,
E56, Pandav Nagar,Samuspur Road, Delhi., Mob.No..9873717806.
Visiting Scientist,HBCSE, TIFR, Mumbai,
D3, Gurukul Sophia College,Mumbai- 400026, Mob.No..9969262050.
28. Mr.Charles Emmanuel,
RITIMO Network for information,21 ter Rue Voltaire, 75011 Paris, France.
State Coordinator NCSC Tamilnadu, Tamil Nadu Science Forum. Palani, Tamilnadu
Mob.No.9443044642, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tamil Nadu Science Forum, M.428 TNHB Colony, Ellis Nagar, Madurai-625010
Mob.No.9442915101, Email: email@example.com
31. Dr. D.C. Uprety
Emeritus Scientist, IARI New Delhi
H69,Vikaspuri, New Delhi-110018, Mob.No.09871986313, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Programme Coordinator, Pondicherry Science Forum
10, IInd Street, P.R.Gardens, Reddiyarpalayam
Puducherry-605010, Mob.No.9443225288, Email:email@example.com
State Academic Coordinator -NCSC, Pondicherry Science Forum
10, IInd Street, P.R.Gardens, Reddiyarpalayam, Puducherry-605010
Mob.No.9488074341, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- 34. Dr.P.Iyamperumal
Excutive Director, Tamilnadu Science & Technology Centre
Gandhi Mandapam Road, Chennai-600025, Mob.No.9840014412
Joint Director, Tamilnadu Science & Technology Centre
Gandhi Mandapam Road, Chennai-600025, Mob.No.9444413200
Scientific officer, Tamilnadu Science & Technology Centre
Gandhi Mandapam Road, Chennai-600025, Mob.No.9444455819
37. S.Sekar ,General Secretary
Pondicherry science Forum, 10, IInd Street, P.R.Gardens
Reddiyarpalayam, Puducherry-605010, Mob.No.948977796, Email:email@example.com
State Coordinator -NCSC, Pondicherry Science Forum
10, IInd Street, P.R.Gardens, Reddiyarpalayam, Puducherry-605010
Mob.No.9442786122, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org