ISRO, along with special national scientific institutions, has launched a
special land based campaign on atmospheric aerosols. The campaign started on
February 1 and will continue till February 29, 2004.
During this special campaign, vehicles equipped with sophisticated instruments
will travel about 6000 km in south India to measure physical, chemical and
optical properties of aerosols and trace gases along the road corridors. The
month of February has been specifically chosen for the campaign since, during
this period, there will not be any draw down of aerosols due to precipitation
and hence provide average conditions of aerosols in the ambient environment.
The Indian continent, by virtue of its geographical position and anthropogenic
pressures on land as well as development of industries, have resulted in rapid
changes in the land use and land cover pattern. These regional and geographical
processes of Indian sub-continent, which is surrounded by Indian Ocean, are
also influenced by the intercontinental transport of various atmospheric
processes and trace gases making the continent as one of the conduit for
accumulation of various green house gases, aerosols and trace gases. These
atmospheric constituents play a major role in perturbing the radiation reaching
the earth's surface. Some of the trace gases, though have short residence time,
can perturb the radiation periodically. The problem of aerosols and atmospheric
trace gases concentration appears to be on the rise over the Indian continent
and there is a need to document the sources and composition of aerosols.
The "Special Land Based Campaign on Aerosols", would provide better
insight on the properties of composition of aerosols and their distribution
across various latitudes. The understanding of the aerosols characteristics and
chemistry will help in better quantifying the atmospheric radiative forcing. It
is also proposed to launch balloons and fly instruments in aircraft to study
the vertical and advection of the constituents in the 4-5 km boundary layer.
The present campaign, which is a part of the on-going Geosphere-Biosphere
Programme, is the first of its kind in the country. ISRO proposes to cover the
northern and north-eastern region road corridors in the next 2-3 years. ISRO
has also plans to cover the Arabian and Bay of Bengal Oceanic region for
accounting the aerosols and trace gas concentrations using ship-borne
The Institutions participating in the campaign include : National Remote Sensing
Agency (NRSA), Hyderabad and Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), Ahmedabad of
the Department of Space; ISRO's Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC)
Thiruvananthapuram; Central Road Research Institute (CRRI) New Delhi; National
Physical Laboratory (NPL), New Delhi; Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology
(IITM), Pune; Indian Institute of Science (IISc.), Bangalore; Andhra
University, Vishakapatnam; and Sri Krishnadevaraya University, Ananthapur.