Amitabh Sinha is Resident Editor, Pune. He writes on Environment, Climate Change, Water, Science and Technology, Space and Nuclear affairs, and related stuff. He has worked with PTI, Reuters, and BBC before joining The Indian Express in 2007. Amitabh has a PG Diploma in Journalism from IIMC, New Delhi, and a Masters in Public Administration from National University of Singapore.
Bengaluru-based Pixxel India has planned a vast constellation of earth-imaging satellites that would continuously monitor every part of the globe and beam high-resolution imagery and other data that can be used for a variety of applications related to climate change, agriculture, and urban planning.
India's coronavirus cases, numbers: Maharashtra now has the highest number of active Covid-19 cases in India, thanks to the steep rise in the last one week, and also the fact that Kerala has been slowly, but steadily, slowing down.
Coronavirus in India: There are many questions and not many good answers. The very different trajectories in different states just shows there is still a lot that we do not know about the nature and behaviour of this virus.
India's coronavirus cases, numbers: The consistent decline in numbers since October had slowly resulted in a drop in testing numbers, a trend which will now have to be reversed, at least in states that are showing a resurgence.
In a letter to Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal and others, Partha Majumder, president of the Indian Academy of Sciences, had said that the order was “too constraining” for the advancement of science in the country.
The academic and scientific community had objected to the order, with two of the largest and oldest science academies writing letters to the government, saying it would lead to “complete halt on all topical scientific discussions”.
A recent order, issued on January 15 asks all government entities, including publicly funded educational institutions and universities, to “seek approval” of the respective “administrative Secretary” for organizing any “online/virtual international conferences/seminars/training etc”.
A relatively low-hanging fruit, but a very effective one, is to set up early warning systems that alert the downstream populations about an impending disaster. This has to be coupled with plans to quickly evacuate local communities to safer regions.
A National Centre for Himalayan Glaciology was proposed to be created as part of the Sustainable Himalayan Ecosystem mission, one of the eight missions that had been launched in 2008 to lead India's response to climate change.
“Given the low case count anyway, few want to be tested and our staff come back empty-handed,” said a Jamui official involved with testing in the district. “But there is a pressure to meet the target.”
A five-member team from the Dehradun-based Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology made aerial surveys of the location on Tuesday and Wednesday, and had has collected samples of water, snow and debris from the area to make further investigations.
The flash floods in Uttarakhand underline the risk. One of India’s leading glaciologists discusses ways to assess and minimise this. Excerpts from an interview with D P Dobhal, a glaciologist, formerly associated with the Dehradun-based Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology.
A 2005 inventory of glaciers and glacial lakes in the Himalayan region, documented by the Kathmandu-based International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) had identified 127 glacial lakes in Uttarakhand using satellite images.
Uttarakhand flash floods: Satellite images circulated among scientists tracking the incident show that a large chunk of fresh snow from a mountain near Raini village in Chamoli district had dropped off Sunday, possibly becoming the reason for the flash flood.
Covid-19 in India: The decline in numbers looks terminal, but the end may be still some distance away, and it is not yet clear how long immunity will last. Tracing India’s journey to the peaks in case counts and deaths, followed by the decline.
But while Kerala is the worst hotspot of the epidemic in the country now, what is remarkable is that the rise in cases has not resulted in a similar increase in the number of deaths. In fact, Kerala has one of the lowest death counts among the major states.