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Posted at: Mar 4, 2017, 1:31 PM; last updated: Mar 4, 2017, 1:38 PM (IST)

UK researchers to study agriculture in Indo-Gangetic plain

UK researchers to study agriculture in Indo-Gangetic plain
Photo for representational purpose only.

London, March 4

British and Indian scientists have collaborated for a new research project aimed at studying the impact of climatic changes on agriculture in the Indo-Gangetic Plain.

The project, set up at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur, will be led by Hartmut Boesch and Harjinder Sembhi in the UK and Professor Sachichi Tripathi in India, University of Leicester said in a statement.

"The Indo-Gangetic Plain (IGP) is a very important region for the regional food supply and the use of EO data will give us novel means of studying the sensitivity of this area to environmental changes," said Boesch, reader in Earth Observation at the University of Leicester.

The IGP extends across Northern India connecting to Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal and is region of large scientific and economic interest.

Increasing agricultural production and industrialisation to meet the demands of a growing population coupled with human-induced disturbances threaten the natural ecosystem in this region.

"This project presents an exciting opportunity for the UK and Indian researchers to align their scientific expertise to understand and address the environmental challenges that exist already and are likely to continue to affect communities around the IGP," said Sembhi, Post-Doctoral Research Associate at the University of Leicester.

Changes have been observed, impacting the quality of air and emissions of greenhouse gases and therefore the need to monitor land-use and the regional greenhouse gas budget is becoming critical, the statement said. In addition to these pressures, large climatic variations such as extreme changes in rainfall or temperature can also significantly impact crop productivity, food and water security in the future, it said.

Funded by the UK India Education and Research Initiative (UKEIRI) and the Department of Science and Technology (DST), the project will focus on combining expert knowledge in Earth observation space sensors, highly accurate ground-based measurements with state-of-the-art models of the land surface to determine the climatic drivers of yield modulations and its relation to greenhouse gas emissions.

It has also created new partnerships with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Indian Institute for Technology-Delhi (IIT-Delhi).

It is being described as the first international research programme of its kind to bring together the UK Earth observation community with Indian experts to address the challenges in monitoring climate impacts on agriculture.

The use of novel Earth observation datasets used in the project will provide a much better understanding of regional and long-term changes across the IGP and how they impact agricultural yield, the statement said.

The project is also focused on the transfer of skills and training of young scientists and students of both countries to help build a sustainable partnership, it said. —PTI 

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