Friday, July 03, 2009
Monsoon covers almost entire country
* June rainfall 46 percent below normal (Adds details, quotes and background)
- India's monsoon rains for the week ended July 1 were 29 percent below normal, improving from a 68 percent shortfall in the previous seven days, the weather office said on Thursday.
The June-September annual rains are the main source of irrigation for Indian farms and are crucial for Asia's third-largest economy.
Countrywide rainfall was 39.6 mm in the latest week against a normal 56.0 mm, the India Meteorological Department office said.
It said all 36 weather zones received rains during the week, indicating a revival after a weak phase during the previous two weeks.
The monsoon was normal in 10 areas and surplus in three, while 23 zones recorded deficit to scanty rains.
Rainfall during June 1 to July 1 was 92.2 mm, 46 percent below normal. It was better than June 1 to June 24 when the rains were 52.8 mm, 54 percent below normal.
Last week, the weather office said total rainfall from the four-month monsoon would be only 93 percent of the long-term average, coming in below normal for the first time in four years
Here is food
for thought on energy conservation. About 15,000 students staying in the hostel of Sathyabama University will now have food cooked exclusively using solar energy.
Spread over 1,100 square feet (largest surface area given to any solar steam cooking project in the country) on the terrace of the boys hostel mess on the university campus are 110 solar concentrator dishes neatly arranged in eight rows, which would supply 2.2 MW thermal power to the kitchen. It would be used to cook 30,000 meals
Each solar dish is made up of reflective glass and measures 10 square metres. A solar concentrator dish, on an average, saves 5 KW of power per hour.
The Rs 1.2-crore solar steam cooking system was developed by Gadhia Solar Energy Systems, an Ahmedbad-based company, along with Sathyabama University. The Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy and the Tamil Nadu Energy Development Agency (TNED) jointly provided 50% subsidy for the project. The company will maintain the solar dishes for five years.
The company had done a similar project for the Tirumala Tirupati Devesthanam (TTD) in 2002. The TTD system has 106 solar dishes and helps cook 30,000 meals everyday. At Sringeri temple in Karnataka, a similiar system helps cook food for around 5,000 devotees at a time.
A solar-powered kitchen consumes lesser power and time than a conventional kitchen. "Power from solar dishes ensure that a meal is cooked in half-an-hour, while it may take one-and-a-half hour to cook the same using LPG. This kitchen, by replacing LPG with solar dishes, saves nearly Rs 20 lakh every year. In Tamil Nadu, this is the largest solar project of this kind. Out of 365 days in a year, the state experiences hot weather for 320 days and is ideal for tapping," said Deepak Gadhia, chairman, Gadhia Solar Energy Systems.
Among other benefits, these solar dishes also help to keep the kitchen clean and hygeinic. Unlike the LPG model, kitchen area would remain smoke-free. Additional power generated from these solar dishes would be used for heating water in the hostel.
According to Jeppiaar, chancellor, Sathyabama University, the idea to generate and use unconventional sources of energy had been on his mind since the days he headed the Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board in the eighties.
"Now we spend nearly Rs 7.5 lakh on LPG every month for cooking food for our hostel residents. This cost is expected to come down by half," he added.
However, pointing out that the solar energy would be available only after 9.30am when the sun shines which will make the system useful only for preparing lunch, Jeppiaar said: "I have asked my research and development department to explore means of storing the energy generated during the daytime so that the same can be used for preparing tea, breakfast and dinner as well."
Places are:: Cherrapunji in northeast India, Mawsynram near Cherrapunji, Mumbai, Amini Divi in Lakshadweep Island group and Daramapur in Gujarat.
Highest 24-hours rainfall records in India:
(Here the 24-hour period is counted from 0830 IST (0300 UTC) of a day to 0830 IST of the next day.)
156.3 cm at Cherrapunji (Meghalaya) on 15-16 June 1995
116.8 cm at Aminidivi (Lakshadweep) on 5-6 May 2004
103.6 cm at Cherrapunji (Meghalaya) on 13-14 June 1876
99.7 cm at Cherrapunji (Meghalaya) on 11-12 July 1910
98.9 cm at Mawsynram (Meghalaya) on 9-10 July 1952
98.7 cm at Dharamapur (Gujarat) on 1-2 July 1941
98.5 cm at Cherrapunji (Meghalaya) on 12-13 September 1974
94.4 cm at Santacruz-Mumbai (Maharashtra) on 26-27 July 2005