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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.

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)

World Meteorological Day 2017

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Lecture by Prof R R Kelkar

IMS Lecture Announcement

The Southern Oscillation was Discovered in India

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An article entitled “The Southern Oscillation was Discovered in India” by Prof R R Kelkar was published in the November 2015 issue of Ocean Digest, the journal of the Ocean Society of India.

Click here to read the pdf file

A Visit to Poladpur

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Savitri River 1

Poladpur is a town situated at the foothills of the Sahyadri mountains, in Raigad district of Maharashtra state in India. The river Savitri originating from the hill station of Mahabaleshwar, comes down to Poladpur and then flows into the Arabian Sea at Bankot.  

On the banks of the Savitri is an old tombstone which has withstood the passage of time and the fury of floods. The inscription on the grave reads: “In memory of the Rev Donald Mitchell, first missionary of the Scottish Missionary Society in India. He left the Bombay Army of which he was a commissioned officer, to become a preacher of the gospel to the benighted inhabitants of this country, but he was removed from the chosen sphere of this work of faith within the first year of his ministerial service. He died at this village on the 20th November 1823.”

The death of Rev Donald Mitchell in Poladpur was not in vain. In 1895, my grandfather, Hari Govind Kelkar, following the commandment of Lord Jesus, set up an ashram there for leprosy patients who had been abandoned by society. Later, his work was taken over by the Leprosy Mission.

In 1954, a church was founded in Poladpur and it has just completed 60 years. On 2 November 2014, there was a special service to mark the occasion. I had the opportunity to visit Poladpur and join in the worship and also to lay flowers on Mitchell’s grave. Here are some pictures.  

The church at Poladpur:

Poladpur Church 1   Poladpur Church 2

Rev Daniel Raj conducting the worship service:

Poladpur Church 3   Poladpur Church 4

Rev Donald Mitchell’s grave:

Donald Mitchell Grave 1   Donald Mitchell Grave 2   Donald Mitchell Grave 3

Remembering Dr O. N. Dhar

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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.)

Filmy Weather (28) “Monsoon”, A Love Letter to India

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Kelkar and Sturla at Alipore

Sturla Gunnarsson’s documentary “Monsoon” is about how the immense weather system affects India’s one billion residents. It is premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival, with screenings on 7 and 9 September 2014. The prolific Canadian filmmaker says that the film is his “love letter to India”.

Read more about the movie at http://www.bramptonguardian.com/whatson-story/4806469-sturla-gunnarsson-s-love-letter-to-india-/

Picture shows R R Kelkar and Sturla Gunnarsson sitting under the banyan tree at Alipore Observatory, Kolkata, during the film’s shooting on 6 July 2013.

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