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Domain Themes

Aerosols and Clouds | Air Quality | Carbon Cycle | Clean Energy Materials | Climate Change | Climate Change Adaptation | Climate Change-Extreme Events | Climate Modelling | Coastal Zones | Data Assimilation | Drought Analysis | Forestry | Geoengineering | Glaciers | Hydro-Geo-Chemistry | Hydrology | Indian Monsoon | Land Surface Modelling | Mitigation and Policy | Natural Hazards Assessment | Rainfall Runoff Modelling | Remote Sensing & GIS | Sustainable Design and Manufacturing | Tropical Cyclones | Urban Floods | Water Pollution | Water Resources | Wind Energy

Domain Team



Faculty Names



IISc, Bangalore

G. Bala, Ravi Nanjundiah, GS Bhat, P Mujumdar, NH Ravindranath, Anil Kulkarni, Arindam Chakraborty, SK Satheesh, J Srinivasan, HNChanakya, R Sukumar

Indian Monsoon, Climate modeling, Glaciers, Carbon cycle, Geoengineering, Aerosols and clouds, Water resources, water pollution, forestry, water pollution



Krishna AchutaRao, SomnathBadiya Roy, SagnikDey,DilipGanguly, AD Rao,SK Mishra, AK Gosain, CT Danya, AmbujSagar, Richa Sharma, Saurabh Paul, Upasna Sharma

Climate modeling, Aerosols, land surface modelling, Wind energy, Climate Change and Water resources, Mitigation and Policy,



Chandra Venkataraman, Subhimal Ghosh, A Mondal, R Gautam, T Mishra and S Karmakar, K Narayanan, HPhuleria

Aerosols, hydrology, urban floods, Remote Sensing, Climate change adaptation, Mitigation and Policy


IIT- Gandhi Nagar

Vimal Mishra

Climate Change-Extreme events, Drought analysis


IIT- Bhubaneswar

UC Mohanty, V Vinoj, SRamannujam,

Aerosols, tropical cyclones, data assimilation


IIT- Chennai


Tropical cyclones, Data assimilation


IIT- Hyderabad

Ridhi Singh

Rainfall runoff modelling


IIT - Kgp

Sirshendu De, Jayanta Bhattacharya, SudhaGoel, Abhijit Mukherjee, Prasad Kumar Bhaskaran,

Coastal zones



SachiTripathi, ShivamTripathi, Mukesh Sharma, Abbas Singh, Tarun Gupta

Aerosols, hydrology


IIT- Guwahati

Sri Harsha Kota

Air Quality



Dericks Shukla

Remote Sensing & GIS, Hydro-geo-chemistry, Water contamination, Natural Hazards Assessment



Biswarup Pathak

Clean energy materials



Prabir Sarkar

Sustainable design and Manufacturing

Domain: Environmental Science and Climate Change

Broad Coverage

Environmental change, specifically climate change, has emerged as a major concern in the 21st century. Demand for energy, water and food for raising the standard of life are driving the environmental changes. Deforestation and CO2 emissions from fossil fuels such as coal and petroleum are the main causes for climate change. The major environmental problems for India in the coming decades include air and water pollution, heat waves and changes to monsoon rainfall and glacier retreat due to climate change, impacts of climate change on our food, water and forestry resources, biodiversity loss, sea level rise and the consequent impacts on our coastal communities. Ocean acidification, often referred to as the evil twin of global warming, is also likely to cause disturbance to marine life including corals and fisheries in the Indian Ocean. India has already taken major initiatives to improve our scientific understanding of environmental change and to adapt to and mitigate these changes. Some of the urgent scientific and engineering challenges in the area of environment change are discussed below.

Climate Science

Locally generated knowledge on climate sciences is strategically crucial for providing sound guidance on the impacts of climate change on various sectors in India. In the last 3 decades, several countries have developed mathematical models to project future climate change but India lags behind in model development. Since climate model development is essentially a scientific and engineering exercise and since there is plenty of expertise in science and engineering in India, India should identify the development of one or more earth system models as a key national priority. Creation of a long term climate observation network and objective assessments of extreme events and climate change impacts on agriculture, forestry, water resources, glaciers, health, coastal zones, corals and fisheries should be also considered as national priorities. Resources for creating skilled manpower in this domain should be provided by the government of India.

Monsoon Prediction

Simulation and prediction of the Indian Summer Monsoon on seasonal and intraseasonal scales is one of the major challenges in weather and climate sciences. Skill of numerical and empirical models in predicting monsoons has improved in recent years but there is still considerable scope of improvement. Forecasting skill can be improved by better representation of physical processes in climate models. Dedicated research into numerical methods is also required if India were to develop its own model for weather and climate. With increasing amounts of data available from satellites and other sources, studying monsoons is also a 'Big Data' challenge. Newer machine learning techniques can be used to mine this data and obtain new insight. Improved utilization of this data also requires extensive research into data assimilation to provide better initial conditions for forecasts. All this would require interdisciplinary research combining skills of various IITs and IISc in weather, climate, turbulence studies, applied mathematics and computational science.

Ocean Studies

Oceans play an important role in modulating monsoons. Understanding the interplay between the atmosphere and oceans requires in-situ data collection and modeling. Hence, more oceanic expeditions and high resolution ocean modelling capability would be needed to understand the complex thermodynamic structure and circulation in the Indian Ocean. By taking up anthropogenic carbon dioxide, oceans help to mitigate climate change. They also support corals and fisheries in coastal regions. However, invasion of anthropogenic carbon dioxide into ocean water leads to ocean acidification which is often referred to as the "evil twin of global warming" or the "other CO2 problem". The acidified waters could be detrimental to marine organisms as calcification rates in marine calcifying organisms could be reduced. Hence, there is an urgent need to study the chemistry and biology of Indian Ocean waters using extensive observations and complex earth system models that simulate the ocean biogeochemistry.

Air Pollution

Air pollution continues to remain a public health concern despite various actions taken to control air pollution. The problem becomes more complex due to multiplicity and complexity of air polluting source mix (e.g., industries, automobiles, generator sets, domestic fuel burning, road side dusts, construction activities, etc.). The urgent needs in this theme are extensive data compilation, management and interpretation of the monitored air quality, development of grid based emission inventory of the specified pollutants (PM10, PM2.5, SO2, NOx, CO, benzene, metals and PAHs), meteorological and air quality modeling of these pollutants with prediction capabilities.

Aerosols and Climate

Aerosols are suspended particulates in the atmosphere and they are believed to be mitigating global warming by increasing the planetary albedo, although the sign and magnitude of aerosol effects on climate are uncertain. In addition to contributing to air pollution, aerosols could alter precipitation and winter fog patterns in India. The problem becomes complex when the interaction of aerosols with clouds, their chemical composition and vertical distribution are considered. Resolving the role of aerosol on Indian summer monsoon rainfall and winter fog and mitigation of the undesired effects of aerosol should be priority areas for research.

Water Resources & Water Pollution

Climate change is likely to affect the Indian Summer Monsoon Rainfall and hence water resources in this country. Climate change impacts in the water sector include potential shortage of fresh water and inadequate ground water recharge. Climate warming is likely to increase the evaporative loss of water from our reservoirs. Increase in irrigation and the consequent decline in ground water storage is also another major challenge in the water sector. Further, our water ways are highly polluted by nitrates and heavy metals as a result of excessive fertilizer and pesticide usage in the agriculture sector and by industrial wastes. A rigorous scientific program for improved understanding of water cycle in a changing climate, adaptation of water management strategies to climate change and waste water recycling is essential for the country.

Forests and Climate Change

Forestry is one of the most important sectors in the context of climate change, both from the point of mitigation as well as adaptation. It lies at the centre-stage of global mitigation and adaptation efforts. Yet it is one of the least understood sectors, especially at the regional level - many of its fundamental metrics such as its mitigation potential, its vulnerability and the likely impacts of climate change on forests and carbon stock are not well understood. There is synergy between mitigation and adaptation when considering forest sector: while forests are projected to be adversely impacted under climate change forests also provide opportunities to mitigate climate change. Thus, there is a need for research and field demonstration of synergy between mitigation and adaptations that the cost of addressing climate change impacts can be reduced and co-benefits increased.

Glacier Retreat

The Himalayas is home to one of the largest glacier-stored waters outside the Polar Regions. Melt water from these glaciers and seasonal snow form an important source of run off into the north Indian rivers during critical summer months. However, this source of water is likely to decline because of global warming. Therefore, monitoring and modeling the changes in distribution of seasonal snow, glaciers and glacial lakes are important. However, lack of trained manpower and rugged terrain pose major challenges to collection of data on snow and glaciers. A rigorous scientific program on satellite remote-sensing, field observations and modelling is urgently needed to provide guidance on the impacts of potential glacier retreat in the coming decades.

Global Leadership

Research in environmental science and climate change in India has been so far mostly limited to the Indian geography. Assessments of climate change adaptation and mitigation have been also limited to India. For India to take global leadership position in the 21st century, this barrier has to be crossed. Merely receiving inputs on global environment and climate change from reports from global agencies would not be sufficient. India should start generating its own knowledge on global energy scenario and global environmental and climate change. Hence, as a long term strategy, Indian government should start promoting observational and modeling research into energy and environmental issues that concerns the entire planet.

Capacity Development

Climate and environmental sciences are fast emerging new sciences around the world. These are interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary sciences that require multiple skills to succeed. Collaboration is the key for success in these sciences and hence mechanisms to promote collaborative research across individuals, disciplines and Institutions need to be formulated. Following is a short, but not an exhaustive, list of mechanisms that are needed to promote the capacity development in this domain.

  • Create Centres of Excellence in Climate Science: Create centres of excellence in climate science at all IITs, IISERs, NITs and central universities for generating the scientific expertise required in this domain.

  • Promote Collaborations & Team Work: Create mechanisms or incentives so individuals with expertise in hydrology, atmospheric science, climate science, radiative transfer, aerosol science, satellite meteorology, etc. come together for developing strong modelling and observational capabilities. For example, special funds can be created to allow short term faculty exchange visits across the institutions. More financial support should be provided to groups rather than individuals in order to promote inter-disciplinary work. Such incentives are likely to promote the execution of “big science” projects in this theme.

  • Create National Data Centres: Observational and model data collected by individual scientists should go into National data centres for climate and environment related variables. The data should have open and free access.

  • Create National Super computing Facility: To promote a true spirit of team work across institutions, initiate mechanisms for creating a National super computing facility (which could be part of the National Super computing Mission) which can be accessed by scientists working in institutions across the country.

  • Promote A Strong Post-Doc Program: Major research is usually performed by young scientists around the world right after the grant of PhD To tap this vast potential, a comprehensive national policy to encourage post-doc employment should be initiated. These positions should come with the same attractive benefits that are normally offered to permanent employees in research Institutions except that the post-doc positions are temporary in nature. At present, this crucial research link between studentship and faculty is missing because of the lack of an attractive post-doc program in the country.

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