IIT Bombay team initiates to monitor fog and pollution with Satellite based system

It seems like problems due to fog during winter season is going to terminate. IIT-Bombay has developed a satellite-based fog monitoring system with the ultimate goal of integrating the fog information to air, rail and vehicular transportation management to ensure safe travel.

The system has been developed by a former research scientist, Ritesh Gautam, at Climate and Radiation Laboratory of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight centre in the US. He is currently working as an assistant professor at the IIT’s Centres for Resources Engineering and Climate studies. The fog monitoring system has been developed with the help of his students Reema Chourey, Dinesh Patil, Sarwar Rizvi and Manoj Singh.

iit bombay fog monitoring system
Dense fog has always interrupted travelling and this new technology is expected to provide a solution to the problem

“The Indo-Gangetic Plains covering northern India, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh is subjected to dense fog during winter months severely impacting on air, rail, and vehicular traffic,” Mr. Gautam reported in an e-mail. “We have developed this system for monitoring and dissemination of fog information to government agencies and also to the general public,” he further added.

This new system uses in-house developed software to automatically process data from the NASA satellites and produces daily maps of fog and low cloud regions for the Indo-Gangetic Plains at a moderately high resolution.

Despite the complexity of operation of the satellite, the team has responded positively and now it will be focusing on further improvement. According to Gautam and team, this satellite can also be used to monitor dust storms, biomass burning events, cyclones and monsoon clouds.

Expanding the functional capability, the team is also working on integrating surface-based meteorological and pollution related measurements. The team has also analyzed spatial and temporal variation and trends of fog occurrence frequency over the entire Indo-Gangetic plains along with trends in pollution for the winter season.

“We have found a highly interesting trend where the long-term satellite data analysis suggests a statistically significant increasing fog frequency trend over the eastern parts of the Gangetic Plains,” said Gautam.

The results and analysis provide a possibility of a correlation between the increasing trends in fog in Indo-Gangetic Plains and the increment in pollution. People will get some relief after this new introduction. Travelling would be much easier if reports by the satellite disseminate correctly.

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