ISRO is planning to build two new satellites especially for environmental monitoring even as it is stepping up efforts to use its assessment on agriculture conditions and weather to effectively help people on the ground in co-ordination with other government agencies.

“One (satellite) is mainly for studying aerosols and related things and another one for trace gases (carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitric oxide and sulphur dioxide, among others),” Indian Space Research Organisation Chairman G Madhavan Nair told PTI here.

He said the satellites are in line with what Union Ministry of Environment and Forests wants. Nair recently had a discussion with Union Minister of state Jairam Ramesh, who is now expected to submit a note to Prime Minister on the subject.

Mr. Nair said while Bangalore-headquartered ISRO would build these satellites, it would work with the Ministry to put together a competent team to analyse the data from the missions and study the climate change.

ISRO has done some “bits and pieces” of work on aerosols from observations from the ground and ship for specific time but now there is a need to consolidate and put them into operational mode.

“Our region is very much affected by aerosols, especially during the summer months... not only what we produce here, there is migration from desert areas. Until the next monsoon, it stays on,” Mr. Nair said.

Meanwhile, the ISRO Chairman said the space agency’s assessment on agriculture, drought and floods among others, were so far in “experimental and pilot project mode.

“Many of them need to be operationalised. For example, agricultural forecast.... With the Agricultural Ministry...we want to make this an operational theme,” Mr. Nair, also Secretary in the Department of Space, said.

“At least for the five crops, we know the technology...how from aerial things, we can forecast,” he said, adding, he recently had a discussion with Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, who has issued directions to officials to operationalise it.

He said ISRO has set up 600-odd automatic weather stations in the country and would establish another few hundred, particularly in the northern region of the country where the coverage is not good.

“So, these (environmental, agricultural and weather) are some of the areas where we want to use space-based systems and see how we an help the country in tackling day-to-day problems,” Mr. Nair added.

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