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Filmy Weather (41): “A Monsoon Date”, or a Date with the Monsoon

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“A Monsoon Date” is a very timely film, in that it has been released to coincide with the onset of the monsoon in 2019. It is as refreshing as a brief monsoon shower can be after a long hot summer. It is very different from those monsoon films that drag on in theatres while Dolby Atmos accentuates the sound of the falling rain. It is a short 20-minute film that can be watched on the net.

“A Monsoon Date” belongs to Konkona Sen Sharma in every respect. Nothing else and no one else is of consequence. She is subtle and delicate, and braves with poise an annoying rain that is all set to spoil her evening. In between the rain shots, we see glimpses of her past life. She has already faced many storms of life. This is just another of them. Konkana (her character is nameless) eventually reaches her destination, skin-drenched, and meets her date, but not her destiny. To know what really happens, see the film yourself.

“Satellite Meteorology in India”: Review Paper by Prof R R Kelkar

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Prof R R Kelkar’s latest review paper entitled “Satellite Meteorology in India: Its Beginning, Growth and Future” has been published in Mausam, January 2019, Vol 70, pp. 1-14.

Satellite meteorology had its beginning in India in 1965 when the first facility to receive images from U.S. meteorological satellites was established in Mumbai. More such stations were set up later and field meteorologists used satellite images as value addition to their synoptic charts. But satellite meteorology truly came of age in India in 1982 with the launch of India’s own satellite INSAT-1A. With the launch of many subsequent satellites in the INSAT series, satellite meteorology has grown from strength to strength in terms of capability and application. INSAT-3D is by far India’s most sophisticated meteorological satellite having an advanced imager as well as a sounder. A host of quantitative products are being derived operationally from its data. Satellite inputs have helped to improve steadily the accuracy of weather forecasts in India and thereby reduce the loss of life associated with catastrophic events particularly tropical cyclones. Satellites of the future are likely to have innovative orbits and sensors providing new perspectives of the global atmosphere and oceans.

Click here to read the full paper

Marathi Article about Prof R R Kelkar by Shailesh Malode

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लहरी हवामानाचा अचूक वेध

लेखक – शैलेश माळोदे, नाशिक

डॉ. रंजन केळकर, हवामानतज्ञ. हवामान खात्यातील प्रदिर्घ योगदानानंतर आताही त्यांचे महाराष्ट्रातील हवामानाविषयी संशोधन सुरुच आहे.

‘महाराष्ट्राचे हवामान’ हे माझं पुस्तक मी लिहू शकलो म्हणून मी परमेश्वराचे उपकार स्मरण करतो असं स्पष्टपणे प्रस्तावनेत नमूद करून वैज्ञानिक म्हणून परमेश्वराच्या अस्तित्वाविषयी निःसंदिग्धपणे आणि अत्यंत नम्रपणे आपल्या विविध मर्यादांची जाणीव बाळगत आपल्या ख्रिस्ती असल्याबद्दल कुठलाही खोटा अभिनिवेश न ठेवता डॉ. रंजन केळकर यांनी अगदी दिलखुलासपणे स्वतःचा जीवनपट माझ्याबरोबर उलगडला. डॉ. रंजन केळकर हे 1998 ते 2003 या काळात हिंदुस्थानी हवामान खात्याचे महासंचालक होते. प्रा. डॉ. रंजन केळकर हवामानविषयक तज्ञ तर आहेतच, पण त्यांनी सोप्या भाषेत हवामानविषयक लेखन पुस्तकं, लेख, ब्लॉग व्याख्यानं याद्वारे केलेय. विशेषतः निवृत्तीनंतर. प्रयत्नपूर्वक त्यांनी लोकांना समजेल अशा पद्धतीनं आपली लेखनशैली विकसित केलीय.

हवामानशास्त्र विभागात पुणे आणि नवी दिल्ली येथे त्यांनी 38 वर्षे काम केलं. ‘माझं पुरं आयुष्य मी या विषयाला आणि विभागाला दिलं असं म्हटलं तर वावगं ठरणार नाही. 31 डिसेंबर 2003 रोजी सेवानिवृत्त झाल्यावर मी महाराष्ट्रात परतायचं ठरवलं. 2004 ते 2008 च्यादरम्यान मी पुणे विद्यापीठात इस्रो अध्यासनावर मानद प्राध्यापक होतो आणि उपग्रह हवामानशास्त्र हा विषय मी पदव्युत्तर विद्यार्थ्यांना शिकवला असे सांगत डॉ. रंजन केळकर यांनी त्यांच्यामधील शिक्षणाचा पैलूही खुला केला. 19 डिसेंबर 1943 रोजी मुंबईच्या शिवाजी पार्क भागात त्यांचा जन्म झाला. त्यांचं सुरुवातीचं शिक्षण बालमोहन विद्यामंदिर, मुंबई आणि नंतरचे शालेय शिक्षण सेंट जॉन्स सेकंडरी स्कूल, पुणे इथे झालं. त्यांचे वडील पोस्टात नोकरीला होते. केळकर मूळचे अलिबागचे. या ठिकाणी असलेली चुंबकीय वेधशाळा ब्रिटिशांनी 1900 च्या दशकात उभारली. खरं तर विविध निरीक्षणे चांगल्या प्रकारे नोंदवता यावीत म्हणून ही वेधशाळा मुंबईतील कुलाब्याहून हलविण्यात आली होती. त्याकरिता तिथे वीजदेखील पुरविण्यात आली नव्हती. वेधशाळेच्या समोर राहणाऱ्या केळकर कुटुंबीयांना  वीज नसल्याची सवय आणि वेधशाळेचं अप्रूप होतं.  त्यामुळे डॉ. रंजन केळकर हवामान खात्यामध्ये नोकरीला लागले ही एक प्रकारे आनंदाची बाब होती. निदान त्यांच्या वडिलांसाठी,शिक्षण पूर्ण झाल्यावरउष्णदेशीय हवामानशास्त्र (आयटीएम- आताची आयआयटीएम) संस्था, पुणे येथे 1964 साली अराजपत्रित अधिकारी दर्जाच्या संशोधन सहायक पदावर नोकरी मिळाली.  डॉ.केळकर यांची कारकीर्द शास्त्रीय प्रवाहात फुलली.

नोकरी करत असतानाच त्यांनी पुणे विद्यापीठातून पीएच.डी. प्राप्त केली. त्यांच्या प्रबंधाचा विषय वातावरणीय शास्त्राशी निगडित आणि आता प्रचंड चर्चेत असलेल्या ग्लोबल वॉर्मिंगशी संबंधित होता. कार्बन डायऑक्साईडचे प्रमाण वाढल्यामुळे पृथ्वीच्या पृष्ठभागावरील तापमान वाढते असे त्यांनी संशोधनातून दाखवून  दिले.

आयबीएमचे सहा संगणक 1960 च्या उत्तरार्धात देशाला देण्यात आले होते. त्यापैकी एक आयटीएममध्ये होता. त्याविषयी डॉ. केळकर यांनी प्रयत्नपूर्वक सर्व शिकून घेतले. 1970 मध्ये यासाठीच त्यांना भारतीय हवामानशास्त्र खात्यात पुण्यातील सिमला हाऊसमध्ये ‘कृषी हवामानशास्त्र’ या विषयासाठी विशेषज्ञ म्हणून बढतीवर नेमण्यात आले. 1980 पर्यंत ते या विषयात कार्य संशोधन आणि अंदाज या दोहोंबाबत करत राहिले. 1980 मध्ये ‘इन्सॅट-1ए’ हा उपग्रह हिंदुस्थानतर्फे सोडण्यात आला. त्याद्वारे प्राप्त आकडेवारीचे विश्लेषण करून हवामान अंदाज व्यक्त करण्यासाठीच्या गटात डॉ. केळकर यांची निवड झाली.

सहा प्रदीर्घ वर्षे त्यांनी हवामान खात्याचे महासंचालक म्हणून कार्यभार सांभाळला. सात बढत्या मिळवून ते या पदी पोहोचले. हिंदुस्थानमध्ये डॉप्लर रडार्सचा वापर माझ्या महासंचालक पदाच्या कारकीर्दीत सुरू झाला.’’ 1999 मध्ये ओडिशात महाचक्रीवादळ झालं. त्यात दहा हजारांपेक्षा जास्त लोकांचा मृत्यू झाला. डॉ. केळकर म्हणतात, ‘खात्यानं अंदाज बरोबर व्यक्त केला होता, पण आपल्याकडे तो लोकांपर्यंत पोहोचविण्यासाठी दळणवळण यंत्रणा आणि हलवाहलवीच्या सुविधांचा अभाव होता. त्यानंतर सरकारने त्याबाबत ठोस पावलं उचलली. राष्ट्रीय आपत्ती व्यवस्थापन प्राधिकरण आणि एनडीआरएफची निर्मिती झाली. केळकर यांच्या कारकीर्दीतच 2001 चा भूज येथील प्रलयकारी भूकंप झाला. त्यानंतर त्यांनी भूकंपशास्त्रीय अद्ययावतीकरण करून पाच मिनिटांच्या आत नेमकी स्थिती कळवणारी यंत्रणा तयार झाली. गोवारीकर मॉडेल 2002 मध्ये विफल ठरल्यावर केळकर यांनी डायनॅमिक मॉडेल या संस्थेने मॉडेलच्या जागी प्रस्थापित करण्यात महत्त्वाची भूमिका बजावली.

आज निवृत्त झाल्यावरदेखील डॉ. रंजन केळकर हवामानशास्त्रविषयक विपुल लेखन आणि प्रबोधन करतात. त्यांनी एकूण आठ पुस्तके इंग्रजी आणि मराठीतून प्रकाशित केली आहेत. एका विशेष प्रकारच्या शांतीचा अनुभव घेत डॉ. केळकर यांचा जीवनक्रम सुरू आहे. तो एक आदर्श म्हणायला हवा.

World Meteorological Day 2019

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Today is World Meteorological Day. Prof R R Kelkar’s article in Agrowon newspaper about “the Sun, the Earth and the Weather”.

Reminiscences of Dev Raj Sikka

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I remember being in Delhi on 27 July 2016 for the celebrations of the Foundation Day of the Ministry of Earth Sciences at Vigyan Bhavan. It was a daylong programme and I had gone specially from Pune to attend it. Having retired from IMD way back in 2003, it was an occasion for me to meet several friends once again and renew old acquaintances. It so happened that I was seated just next to Mr Sikka and I considered that to be a great privilege. However, Mr Sikka was reticent, not in a mood to talk, and remained quiet throughout. This, I thought was not the person I had known all along, since 1965, to be precise. For me, Mr Sikka had always seemed to be an active, vocal, vibrant person, true to his opinions, ever-willing to argue out his points of view.

I had done my M.Sc. in Physics from the University of Pune in 1964 and around the same time, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) had established a new wing named the Institute of Tropical Meteorology (ITM) at Pune, solely devoted to research. I got selected to work there as a Senior Scientific Assistant and I joined ITM in September 1965. My position was that of a research assistant in the non-gazetted cadre, not exactly regarded as a scientist. However, the atmosphere in ITM was open, not very compartmentalized, and I did have opportunities to mingle with scientists, many of whom were stalwarts in their fields.

Mr Dev Raj Sikka was a young Senior Scientific Officer in ITM at that time. While other scientists seemed to be working with weather charts, climatological data or numerical models, what struck me was that Mr Sikka was analysing data from meteorological satellites that had been launched recently by the U.S. and he used electronic computers to process that data. Both satellites and computers had a fascination for me and I used to listen attentively whenever Mr Sikka spoke about his work.

What struck me about Mr Sikka was that he was a very knowledgeable person and he seemed to be aware of the latest developments is almost every field. This I came to know later was due to the fact that he was a voracious reader. At the end of my working day in ITM, I would be waiting for a bus to take me home. And very often I would see Mr Sikka walk by carrying the heavy load of a leather bag stuffed with journals for his late night study.

One of the highlights of the day-to-day work in ITM was the scientific seminars that we used to have very frequently. ITM did not have a seminar hall at that time, but talks used to be arranged in the first floor verandah of Ramdurg House. Curtains would be drawn for privacy and folding chairs laid out. There was only a blackboard and chalk for the speaker to use. But what mattered was that global experts from various branches of meteorology used to visit ITM and deliver talks. What I remember vividly is that however eminent the speaker may be, Mr Sikka would be the first to make a comment or raise an issue.

Looking at any matter critically was an integral part of Mr Sikka’s personality. In fact, in his later years, his knowledge of meteorology had acquired such a depth and breadth, that it had become difficult for people to win an argument with him. I had the occasion to work with him on many committees and I could sense the dislike he had developed for shallow projects and weak presentations. He would always expect especially the younger scientists to work much more than what they were doing or planning to do.

I worked in the Institute of Tropical Meteorology from 1965 to 1971, after which I moved over to the Agricultural Meteorology Division of IMD in Pune. In 1981, I was transferred to New Delhi where I worked until my retirement in 2003. In the intervening years, I was not able to maintain close contact with Mr Sikka, but what he was doing was clearly visible from a distance, like the new building of IITM that came up at Pashan. There were many occasions for me, however, like meetings and conferences, to meet Mr Sikka and hear his views on matters of importance. During the massive drought that India faced in 2002, I remember meeting Mr Sikka almost every week and discussing the evolving meteorological conditions. In the bleak aftermath of a forecast that had gone wrong, and amidst the criticism that I had to face from all quarters, Mr Sikka’s wise counsel used to be a source of great solace and confidence for me.

I will always remember Mr Sikka with fondness and admiration. With his passing, a whole generation of meteorologists has vanished into eternity. The world has changed, climate has changed, the work ethic has changed. That is why I miss dear Sikka Saheb.

(R. R. Kelkar)

Filmy Weather (40): “Jalebi”, or Life is like Climate Change

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The Hindi movie, Jalebi, which was released quite recently, is the story of a writer Aisha Pradhan (Rhea Chakraborty), who is going from Mumbai to Delhi for the release of her first book. She takes an overnight train in which she shares her cabin with Anu (Digangna Suryavanshi) and her daughter. Anu turns out to be the wife of Aisha’s former lover and husband Dev (Varun Mitra). Later in the journey, Dev himself joins them. Their conversation is interspersed with many flashbacks including songs, and as the journey comes to an end, the viewer is able to place properly all the pieces of the story and bring it to a logical conclusion.

Jalebi is sweet, sad, subtle, soft, touching, restrained, and in spite of all that, it is convincing. It has some nice songs, and as a meteorologist, I liked one of them particularly. It is written by Rashmi Virag and sung by K.K. It says that life keeps changing all the time. What was there before, is not to be found now. And it uses the analogy of climate change to prove its point!   

Pehle ke jaisa kuch bhi nahi hai
Din raat aankhon mein ik nami hai

Pehle ke jaise mausam nahi hai
Baadal toh hai par baarish nahi hai

Kis modh pe aa gaye hum batao
Raahein toh hai humsafar hi nahi hai

Aao chale hum phir se wahan pe
Jahan pe kabhi khushbuon se mile the

Shayad wahin pe kahin kuch bacha ho
Jahan pe kabhi saath hum tum chale the

Jise kho diya hai, khatam ho gaya hai
Us pyar ko zindagi denge phir se

Marathi Article by Dr Ranjan Kelkar about Cold Waves and Global Warming

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An article about cold waves in the context of global warming by Dr Ranjan Kelkar was published in Zee Marathi Disha dated 5 January 2019. 

Click here to read.

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