O N Dhar

Eminent hydrometeorologist, Dr Omkar Nath Dhar, passed away on 7 October 2014 at his residence in Pune. He was 91.

Born on 22 February 1923 in Srinagar, he had his early education there. He did his M. Sc. in Physics with specialization in Electronics from Lucknow University in 1944 and received his Ph. D. degree in hydrometeorology from Jadavpur University, Kolkata, in 1976.

Dr Dhar initially worked as a lecturer in Physics at DAV College, Jalhandar, in 1944-45. He joined the India Meteorological Department (IMD) in March 1945 at Pune and was later posted at the Radiosonde Laboratory at IMD, New Delhi.

In March 1947, Dr. Dhar was deputed to the Central Water Commission (CWC), New Delhi. While at the CWC, he was sent to Nevada University, USA, to work with Dr. J. E. Church on snow surveying in the Himalayas.

Between 1947 and 1958, Dr. Dhar led as many as 12 expeditions to inaccessible regions of the Himalayas from Tehri Garhwal to Sikkim. This was for the purpose of snow surveying and installation of hydrometeorological observatories under the Flood Control and Flood Forecasting Scheme of the Government of India.

In 1965, Dr. Dhar joined the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune. The following year, he visited the US Weather Bureau under the UNDP Fellowship Program for training in hydrometeorology.

From 1982 to 1986, Dr. Dhar served as a Local Consultant to the World Bank at its Regional Office at New Delhi. In 1987, he worked as a member of the World Bank Review Team on Hydrometeorology and was also a member of the Dam Safety Panel for Karnataka State.

Although Dr. Dhar retired as Assistant Director, Climatology and Hydrometeorology Division, IITM, in 1983, he continued his scientific work there as an Honorary Emeritus Scientist almost to the end. During his long career he published as many as 300 scientific papers, of which 100 were written after his retirement.

In recognition of his pioneering contribution to the science and profession of meteorology, Dr Dhar was conferred with the Fellowship of the Indian Meteorological Society in 2001. In 2013, he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award of the CSIR-National Geophysical Research Institute and Association of Hydrometeorologists of India.

(Based on inputs from Dr Sunil Peshin, IMD, New Delhi and Dr Gufran Beig, IITM, Pune.)