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Climate Change, Climate Variability and Chemical Weather
(Chief Project Scientists: Dr. R. Krishnan)
Sub Projects
Centre for Climate Change Research (CCCR)
(Deputy Chief Project Scientist: Dr. H.P. Borgaonkar)
       Dealing with complex science issues of climate change requires skills in a number of research areas such as climate, sustainable development, natural resource management and evaluation, environmental impact analysis, environmental economics, and institutional and societal adaptation. It is also important to combine such knowledge with the local and regional conditions to formulate effective response methods fine-tuned to specific situations. Enhancing science strengths at regional and local levels is therefore of immediate importance for producing sound scientific assessments on which national response strategies could be based. This will also ensure India’s effective contribution into international assessments and policymaking process. Without such initiatives the scientific understanding or implementation of global adaptation and mitigation strategies will not be sustained.
The increased trend of global temperature in the recent decades has focused attention of the scientific community on the specific aspects of global climate and regional monsoon variability in a changing climate. Addressing this issue involves research and development of an Earth System Model (ESM), together with comprehensive assessment of various interactions among the different Earth System components viz., the atmosphere, ocean, biosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, etc. It is necessary to strengthen and continue the basic research required for improving the Earth System Model components.
The policy makers need reliable input on several aspects of attribution and projections of monsoon climate under climate change scenarios for decision making. This requires expertise in Earth System Model development as well as expertise on different components of the earth system (e.g. atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere, biosphere). Unfortunately, this capability was missing in our country. So far we have been relying on results generated by other groups around the world. However, the international groups are not interested in involving on reducing uncertainties in the monsoon projections. Thus, this capacity must be built in the country. In view of this the Centre for Climate Change Research (CCCR) was formally launched and established in January 2009 as one of the programs of the 11th Five Year Plan under the Ministry of Earth Sciences at IITM, Pune. The main mandate of the CCCR is to build capacity in the country to address all issues concerning the science of regional climate change with particular emphasis on the South Asian monsoon system with the following objectives:
  • To develop the high resolution climate models or Earth System Models (ESM) to address scientific questions on attribution and projection of regional climate change
  • To use regional climate models to produce projections of Indian monsoon under different scenarios and assess the uncertainty in these projections.
  • To study Monsoon Variability and Predictability by identifying regional and global climate drivers for monsoon interannual variability and to identify useful predictors and to understand the dynamics of dry and wet epochs of the Indian summer monsoon rainfall (ISMR) and their relation to the ENSO and other global coupled phenomenon.
  • To document chief features of regional monsoon climate change based on climate reconstructions derived from high resolution proxies and to understand the long-term monsoon climate variability over the Asian region.
  • To build in-house capacity in global and regional climate modeling to address all issues concerning the science of regional climate change with particular emphasis on the South Asian monsoon system.
  • To generate reliable climate inputs for impact assessments.
  • To develop hydrological model for large-scale estimation of run-off and soil moisture using satellite derived data.
  • To understand the role of aerosol loading over the Indian region in monsoon interannual variability and its possible implications on the Indian Monsoon.
  • To study and understand the role of aerosol chemistry (both organic and inorganic ionic species) in radiative forcing and regional climate change.
The above objectives will be achieved through the following scientific activities:

  • Development of in-house capacity for development of an Earth System Model (ESM) in order to address all issues concerning the science of regional climate change with particular emphasis on the South Asian Monsoon system.
  • Estimation of change and uncertainties in the South Asian monsoon rainfall under different climate change scenarios - based on high-resolution dynamic downscaling of monsoon rainfall using regional climate models. Through this activity, it is proposed to generate reliable climate inputs for impact assessments.
  • Observational monitoring of green-house gases and aerosols.
  • Measurement of GHG Fluxes.
  • Understand past changes in monsoon climate using multiple proxy records and identify analogues that may help in estimating future evolution of climate. Through this activity it is proposed to reconstruct an iconic monsoon rainfall index which goes back to a few thousand years.
  • Outreach and training for capacity building in climate change research and dissemination of information.

CORDEX South Asia Program

In order to build scientific capacity for generating relevant knowledge for regional climate assessment for the Asian region, the Centre for Climate Change Research (CCCR), IITM is coordinating the World Climate Research Program (WCRP) COordinated Regional Climate Downscaling Experiment (CORDEX)-South Asia program. Various international climate modeling groups/centres from Sweden, Australia, UK, Japan, Norway and Germany are contributing to the CORDEX South Asia simulations. The first meeting of the WCRP CORDEX-South Asia Planning was organized in IITM during 25-26 February 2012. The expert panel consisted of twenty five participants from abroad and from IITM participated in the meeting. The program being administered by CCCR-IITM in collaboration with START and WCRP will consist of a series of Training Workshops. These Workshops will be on the themes of regional climate information Needs for South Asia and CORDEX Framework for South Asia, climate simulations with follow up strategies for analysis, resource mobilization, communication and capacity building for vulnerability, impact and adaptation (VIA), augmented by focused mentoring from a team of experts from the climate modeling and VIA communities. The first CORDEX South Asia Training Workshop was organized during 17-20 October 2012 at IITM, Pune. The Training Workshop aimed to develop and train a core team of researchers through hands-on activities such as analysis of model simulations, interpretation and validation model simulations with historical observations and involving the Vulnerability, Impact and Adaptation (VIA) community through discussions and interactions for effective harnessing of the regional climate change information. The Workshop was augmented by focused mentoring from a team of experts from the climate modeling and VIA communities.

CORDEX:   Model Experiments
  • Evaluation/ Baseline run with ERA – Interim boundary conditions (1989 –2008)
  • Historical run (1950 – 2005)
  • Future projection : 2005 - 2100 (eg., RCP 4.5, 6.0, 8.5 Scenario) 
Participating Modeling Groups
  • LMDZ model (~ 35 km ) CCCR (IITM), IPSL
  • RegCM model (~ 50 km)    CCCR (IITM)
  • PRECIS model (~ 50 km)   CCCR (IITM), Hadley Centre
  • WRF model (~ 50 km) - CCCR (IITM), BCCR and TERI
  • MRI model (~ 20 km) global model (MRI, Japan)
  • RCA model (~ 50 km) Rossby Centre, Sweden
  • REMO model (~ 50 km) Max Planck Inst, Hamburg
  • CCAM model ( ~ 50 km) CSIRO, Australia
Model set-up at CCCR / IITM: Zooming over CORDEX South Asia ~ 35 km resolution
Model runs for the following have been completed
  • Historical: Includes natural and anthropogenic (GHG, aerosols, land cover etc) climate forcing during (1886 – 2005) ~ 120 years.  
  • Historical Natural: Includes only natural climate forcing during (1886– 2005) ~ 120 yrs.
RCP4.5: Future projection (2006-2100) including both natural and anthropogenic forcing based on the IPCC AR5 RCP 4.5 climate scenario. The evolution of GHG and anthropogenic aerosols in RCP 4.5 scenario produces a global radiative forcing of + 4.5 W m-2 by 2100.
Progress of IITM Earth System Model: Successfully incorporation of Ocean Biogeochemistry & Ecosystem modules into the CFS2 climate model at IITM has resulted in the manifestation of the first prototype of the IITM Earth System Model (IITM ESM 1.1).  A test run was initiated at the end of July 2012 to examine the general fidelity of the outputs. Efforts are on for isolating the aerosol module from the new version of the ECHAM-HAM model for incorporating it into the above prototype of the ESM.
 Indian Flux Net Program
(Deputy Chief Project Scientist: Dr. Supriyo Chakraborty)
     A meeting on Fluxnet Co-ordination and Implementation Program was organized at IITM on 21st April 2012 to discuss the financial matters and the progress. Six project proposals for the measurement of eco-system fluxes in the islands and coastal region submitted by scientists from different organization in India viz., University of Pune, Tezpur Central University, Bose Institute, Pondicherry University, M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation and Annamalai University have been approved. Necessary sensors and equipments are being procured which will be provided to the Principal Investigators (PIs).
Climate Variability and Chemical Weather
          Strengthening of the Basic Research is essential for improving any prediction capability. Advancement of the studies relating to weather forecasting, climate diagnostics, dendro-climatology, climate modelling, climate dynamics, ocean dynamics, energetics of monsoon systems, atmospheric chemistry, air pollution, atmospheric aerosols and trace gas monitoring, atmospheric electricity, weather modification etc. is crucial for the development of systems and techniques for long range prediction of seasonal mean monsoon and extended range prediction of active/break spells of rainfall. The basic is being carried out through the following sub-program is being implemented with the following objectives:
Monsoon Variability & Predictability 
(Deputy Chief Project Scientist: Dr. Krishna Kumar)
There is a strong and widely felt need for understanding the nature of climate change on regional time scales. The climate change scenarios are necessary for the impact assessment groups from various sectors. The ensemble of the climate change scenarios is necessary to reduce the uncertainty in the future projections. IITM is the only Institute that has developed the high resolution climate change scenarios towards the end of the 21st century that are widely used in different sectors like, water resources, agriculture, forestry, coastal ecosystems and health, for impact studies. Variability studies for better understanding and prediction of monsoon rainfall are being carried out with the following objectives:
  • To continue ongoing efforts in identifying regional and global climate drivers for monsoon interannual variability and to identify useful predictors.
  • To understand the dynamics of dry and wet epochs of the Indian summer monsoon rainfall (ISMR) and their relation to the ENSO and other global coupled phenomenon.
  • To carry out quantification of the role of internal and external forcing that regulate the ISMR variability on interannual and inter-decadal time scales.
  • To develop forecast models for relevant climatic parameters over India on different spatio-temporal scales using empirical/statistical methods as well as downscaling of seasonal forecasts from General Circulation Models (GCMs) with high-resolution regional models.
  • To understand the role of low-frequency feedbacks involving land atmosphere interactions relevant to interannual variability of the seasonal mean Indian summer monsoon that is governed by internal dynamics leading to the improvement of the representation of Indian monsoon rainfall, soil moisture etc. in the current generation of earth system models.
  • To develop regional climate data products such as daily temperature, rainfall etc on district, state and homogeneous regional scales using latest interpolation techniques for improved climate change detection and attribution.
  • To understand the role of aerosol loading over the Indian region in monsoon interannual variability and its possible implications on the predictability on interannual as well as on intraseasonal time scale.
  • To quantify the various aspects of climate change and variability on intraseasonal, interannual, decadal and century time scales over India and the neighbouring countries, particularly related to the southwest and northeast monsoons.
Air Pollution Modeling/Middle Atmosphere Dynamics   
(Deputy Chief Project Scientists: Dr. D.M. Chate)      
Detailed studies are needed to develop adaptation and mitigation strategies to minimize the ozone and air pollution impact on productivity and human health in the region. The measurements over different monitoring stations over Indian along with the chemical modeling will provide the accurate information on the level of atmospheric pollutants on real time basis. This will further address some detailed questions related to regional distribution of trace gases and their impact on air pollution, productivity and human health.
Setting up the pollution monitoring stations all over India region within the model domain will provide accurate validation of the chemical model. In addition to this, it will provide baseline model input (NOx, CO, O3, Hydrocarbons, Suspended Particulate matters, and SO2) with base line air quality and meteorological input on a finer resolution of 20-30 km for regional air pollution modelling and pollution forecasting. Chemical modelling study will address some detailed questions related to impact of chemical emissions on the distribution of trace gases regionally and also other regions of the globe; timing and location of long-range pollution transport events.
Monitoring tropospheric vertical distribution and seasonal variability in Black carbon and air pollutants over India with special reference to Indo-Gangetic plane and mountain regions is essential to understand the radiative forcing from these chemical constituents. This can be best accomplished using aircraft with high response time technology development for aircraft. This will also help in validation of chemical climate radiative forcing model (CCRM) and facilitate the calculation of radiative forcing over Indian region. This will pave the way for climatic impact assessment.
The programme has the following objectives: 
  • To establish base line network of monitoring atmospheric pollutants (NOx, CO, O3, Hydrocarbons, Suspended Particulate matters, and SO2), Carbon (Organic and Elemental) along with meteorological parameters over Indian region to validate the regional CT-model and assimilation of the data for chemical transport forecasting model.
  • To monitor tropospheric vertical distribution and seasonal variability in Black carbon/OC and air pollutants over India with special reference to Indo-Gangetic plane to study radiative forcing over Indian region and climatic impact assessment.
  • To study the spatio-temporal, seasonal and long-term trends in the level of atmospheric pollutant.
  • To develop the air quality-health assessment model and data ware house for India along with diagnostic study.
  • To carry out high precision estimates for OC/BC using OC/BC analyzer along with segregation of fine particulate matters to understand the composition and chemistry from meso-net network over India.
  • To develop Indian specific Emission Factor for advancement of accurate regional Emission inventory of chemical pollutants on finer resolution (GIS methodology) and collection of Health related data for mega cities.
  • To develop regional chemistry-transport air pollution model with baseline air quality and meteorological input. To study the regional transport of pollutants and simulate short term air quality level and long term chemical-climate scenarios.
  • To study the long-term changes (anthropogenic and natural variabilities) in ozone and other climate forcing parameters of the middle atmosphere.
  • To understand dynamical process occurring in lower troposphere and their interaction with free troposphere and lower stratosphere.
  • To analyze the observed data obtained from OH Air glow Spectrophotometer to study the thermal structure of the mesopause temperature region over Pune.
  • To carry out simulations of mesospheric thermal structure using the interactive chemistry-dynamics-radiations model for the middle atmosphere and carry out comparison of model simulated results with observations to study coupling, energetic and dynamics of the atmosphere.
(Deputy Chief Project Scientist: Dr. H. P. Borgaonkar)
A better understanding of the climate and environmental changes that occurred during the past few centuries (encompassing the Little Ice Age and the Medieval Warm Period) can provide important insights into the rates of regional to global scale changes that are expected to occur within the Earth system in the next few decades. This is the main trust of research tasks of the Past Global Changes (PAGES) project of the International Geosphere Biosphere Programme (IGBP). Information on climate during the past 1000 years, which is the period of man's greatest impact on the planet, is vital to understand the various external and internal forcing on the climate and thereby make reliable future projections. In this time frame, the high resolution proxies such as tree-rings, speleothemes, corals, varves with their inter-annual resolution, have been globally recognized to be the best source of proxy climate data
Though the palaeoclimatic records of monsoon Asia are not widely and systematically elaborated, the studies so far based on different proxy sources, with different spatio-temporal extents, have been found to be quite useful in bringing out some indicators of long-term climate change. Instrumental rainfall record over Indian region covering a period of more than a century are available, which has helped a large number of studies on interannual to decadal scale variability. Temperature data over the past century has also been well-documented and analyzed to examine the long-term trends. However, the fact remains that the climatic anomalies such as the occurrence of glacial phases and variability of monsoon as reflected in the multi-decadal epochs in the frequencies of droughts/floods need to be examined with a data set of much longer extent. In this context, it is essential to make concerted efforts to build a reliable high-resolution proxy climatic data base in India, particularly for the past few centuries. In view of this the following objectives have been framed to achieve the goal.
  • To develop wide network of high resolution proxies over South Asian region such as tree-ring, historical records, speleothem, varves etc.
  • To establish a Multi-parameter Dendroclimatological Network over India (MDNI) for reconstructing the spatio-temporal variability of pre-monsoon and monsoon climate signals.
  • To establish the relationship between the climate parameters and high resolution proxies using response function analysis and develop local, regional and continental scale reconstructions of past climate over the last 2000 years.
  • To document chief features of climate change based on reconstructed long climate data derived from high resolution proxies and to understand the long-term monsoon climate variability over the Asian region in relation to El Nino/ SO, global warming and episodes of prolonged droughts.
  • To investigate causal mechanism underlying palaeoclimatic variations over South Asia using palaeoclimatic modeling approach.