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  • pg 1
									Will New Technologies
  Save the Planet ?
      Dr Mannava Sivakumar
      Acting Director, CLPA
World Meteorological Organization

           Workshop Media 21        1
                  Agriculture Can Not Wait
•   India’s first Prime Minister Mr Jawaharlal Nehru emphasized
    in India’s tryst with destiny (15 August 1947) that “every thing
    else can wait, but not agriculture”

•   Before 1947, Indian history was replete with famine, drought
    and food shortages. Between 1770 and 1880, as many as 27
    food scarcities and famines were recorded. At least 20
    million lives were lost in India in about 20 famines that had
    struck since 1850. In the great Bengal famine of 1943-44, 3
    million people dead.

•   In 1944, the new United Nations Food and Agriculture
    Organization (FAO) found that a third of Indians were
    underfed. Over 100 million people were hungry.

•   In their book “Famine-1975! America’s Decision – Who Will
    Survive?”, William and Paul Paddock (1965) predicted that
    by 1975 Indians would die in their millions.
                             Workshop Media 21                         2
       Agriculture Can Not Wait – The
            Role of Technology
“Forty percent of the world’s current population would not
be alive today were it not for the Haber-Bosch ammonia-
synthesizing process. The spread of Mexican dwarf
wheat and IR-8 rice (and their continually improving
offspring) would have been impossible without such
breakthroughs in fertilizer technology”.

“Had we tried to use the technology of 1950 to produce
the harvest of 2000 it would have taken an additional
2.75 billion acres of land”

                                          Norman Borlaug

                      Workshop Media 21                      3
  Impact of Green Revolution in India
               1950    1960        1970   1980   1990   2000
Food grain
production     50.8     82.0      108.4 129.6 176.4 201.8
Food grain
               4.8      10.4        7.5   0.8    0.3     -
import [mT]
Buffer stock
                -        2.0          -   15.5   20.8   40.0
               361      439         548   683    846    1000

                      Workshop Media 21                      4
     Farmers and oceans

Prior to 1980s, few farmers around the world
would ever have imagined that the distant
tropical Pacific and Indian Oceans would
influence the weather and climate over their
own farms.
                Workshop Media 21              5
     Farmers and oceans

Few of the Australian farmers realized that the
top three meters of the ocean can store and
move as much heat as the whole of the
atmosphere and that ocean currents in the
tropical Pacific and Indian Ocean have a major
influence on how much and when rain falls
across the Australian Continent.
                 Workshop Media 21                6
    Farmers and oceans

The Sahelian farmer would have little
understanding that the Indian and
Atlantic Oceans impact his farming

             Workshop Media 21          7
     Atmosphere and oceans
• Atmosphere responds to ocean temperatures
  within a few weeks. However, the ocean takes
  three months or longer to respond to changes in
  the atmosphere.

• Because the oceans change much more slowly
  than the atmosphere, when a mass of warm water
  forms, it takes months to dissipate and may move
  thousands of kilometres before transferring its
  heat back to the atmosphere.

• It is this persistence of the ocean that offers the
  opportunity for climate prediction (CSIRO Marine
  Research, 1998).
                    Workshop Media 21                   8
Atmosphere and ocean interactions
• Until 20 years ago, seasonal climate predictions
  were based exclusively on empirical/statistical
  techniques that provided little understanding of the
  physical mechanisms responsible for relationships
  between current conditions and the climate
  anomalies (departures from normal) in subsequent

• Mathematical models analogous to those used in
  numerical weather prediction, but including
  representation of atmosphere–ocean interactions,
  are now being used to an increasing extent in
  conjunction with, or as an alternative to, empirical
  methods (AMS Council, 2001).
                      Workshop Media 21                  9
         Opportunities Today
• Opportunities for value-added        climatic
  information have increased
  –Early warning systems: Drought monitors
  –Agro-advisories- India, Korea and others
  –Vulnerability indicators-climate change
  –Yield potential mapping
  –Yield forecasting
• Advanced tools have become more widely
  available to address stakeholder’s needs
  for value added information

                 Workshop Media 21            10
            What do we need to do ?
• Unfortunately, while the technologies are well
  documented and are available, their utilization is still far
  from optimal in many countries.

• Finding the right formula to sustain agricultural growth in
  a setting of rapid and dynamic change requires vision,
  forward-looking policy measures and innovative

• Efforts must be made to enhance research efforts and
  financial inputs to enhance our knowledge of the
  climate–food production systems and address climatic
                        Workshop Media 21                   11

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