The Centre for Earth Science Studies (CESS) has proposed setting up a greenhouse gas observatory at Munnar as part of developing an integrated climate change database and information system in the State.
The initiative is part of the estimate Rs. 80-crore scientific study to map the impact of climate change on agriculture, fisheries, industries, transport, tourism, bio-diversity and forestry sectors.
The objective of setting up a greenhouse gas observatory at Munnar is to monitor and model climate change impacts in the southern Western Ghats.
A high altitude cloud physics and mountain research station will be set up in the region. Three automatic weather quality monitoring substations will also be set up at Chinnar and Mankulam for microclimatic studies and data basing.
C.N. Mohanan, Principal Investigator of the project, said that the high elevations of the Kerala Western Ghats are biologically rich, with presence of many temperate species of tropical stock, rare orchids, medicinal plants, wildlife, and several endemic species.
He said that the study area will be mainly surrounding Munnar, Devikulam, Mankulam, Vattavada, Marayur and Kanthallur above 1500 metres on either side of the high ranges, which has the only remaining viable island of forest-shola-grassland complex.
Dr. Mohanan said that this area provides ample academic and research opportunities for studying the impacts of climate change on fragile biodiversity of the Western Ghats.
It will also serve as a field laboratory for monitoring activities like forestry, conservation biology, environmental education, highland agriculture, plantations, and development of settlement to correlate with climate change and ecosystem changes, he said.
The proposal pointed out that results of the proposed study would serve as a basis for the development of land water use/management practices that guarantee sustainable development.