Varunyantra 2010 Trial Experiments
(An experiment in harvesting skywater using ground based fires)

Project Aim: 

To study the effectiveness of ground based fires for rain-making and harvesting skywater. To experiment with ground based seeding of warm-clouds using NaCl. To record the data of these experiments and disseminate it

Project Duration: June 1, 2010 to October 15, 2010 (4½ months)

Project Background:

Between August 19 2009 and August 28, 2009, there were several experiments done of  ground-fires by Dr. Raja Marathe that were followed by accompaniment of rains in villages Sujlegaon, Gadaga, Navandi (Taluka Naigaon), villages Choki Mahamaya, Barul, Katkamble (taluka Kandhar).

Furthermore during September 3, 2009 and September 12, 2009, a project was done on behalf of the Collector, Nanded during which lecture demonstrations carried out in 4 tahsil places Kandhar, Loha, Mukhed and Umri; lecture demonstrations personally viewed by 3 Tahsildars, over 70 talathis and gramsevaks; lecture demonstrations carried out at 3 bazaar times and locations in Naigaon, Umri, Biloli; over 5,000 leaflets distributed and 300 posters handed out.; lecture demonstrations carried out in over 30 villages and small towns; over 300 tires burnt and 700 kg of salt evaporated in a record time of 10 days.; rainfalls between 3~8 mms lasting between ½ to 2 hours  accompanied  Lavan Vajra use within 24~96 hours in 90 % of cases.

But due to the urgency of the need for rain-making and lack of adequate tools, no systematic recording of the experiments was done and as a result it is difficult to independently validate the results. In addition only common salt was used as seeding material for warm clouds and no attempt was made to seed cold clouds. Therefore it has become necessary to do a controlled Beta experiment over a widely dispersed area for both cold and warm cloud seeding, to note the results and to analyze them in order to draw conclusions for future work in this area.

Project Methodology:

A set of 10 bio-briquette burning furnaces will be built in Village Sujlegaon and 5 of them will be kept in fixed locations at Sujlegaon, Mukhed, Gadga, Navandi and Biloli. Three furnaces will be mounted on thee-wheeler autos/tractors and will be deployed in Mukhed, Naigaon and Biloli talukas of Nanded district.  Two furnaces would be placed in regions outside Marathwada like Pune and/or Jalgaon. Two experiments will be done outside Maharashtra in Banglore (Karnataka) and Auroville(Tamil Nadu).

The burring of bio-briquettes (Lavanvajra) experiments will be done depending upon cloud cover, humidity, wind speed and meteorological conditions, and a systematic photographic and video record will be kept of the sky conditions, time of the day and rainfall obtained if any by means of rain gauges. At the same time a record will be kept of the presence or absence of rain in the nearby surrounding villages by keeping rain-gauges in the surrounding villages.

On a fortnightly basis the results will be submitted to the Dr. Mashelkar and the high power committee being set up by him and the experiments may be suitably modified.

The results of the experiments will be posted on a website on a regular basis for wider dissemination, and the results will be submitted to Atmospheric Science experts for their comments at the end of the experiments in October 2010. They may be subsequently published in scientific journals and popular press.

Project Technology:

The project involves the delivery of suitable cloud seeding materials like Sodium Chloride and other salts and using thermal shocks to enhance atmospheric instabilities and create cumulus clouds by means intense ground fires using bio-briquettes furnaces.  Bio-briquettes are made from waste agricultural residue and hence their use does not involve cutting of trees or adding carbon to the atmosphere and hence is a green technology.  The use of biomass as a fuel is considered to be carbon neutral because plants and trees remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and store it while they grow.

Project Management:

The project will be managed by the following team:

  1. Project Director:                         Dr. Shreehari (Raja ) Marathe
  2. Scientific Expert:                         Prof. Shivaji Rao, Gitam University, Vishakhapatnam
  3. Meteorological Advisor:              Dr. Surendra Parasnis, ex-Deputy Direcctor, IITM

The Project Team will hold regular telephonic and email communications to review the progress.

Dr. Mashelkar’s  Monitoring Team:

  1. Dr. R A Mashelkar, Chairman

Additional members may be co-opted by Dr. Mashelkar as per the needs. The project director will inform the monitoring team on a fortnightly basis the progress and status of the project and invite their comments.

The annexure contains the data that will be collected at each location at each experiment.

Dr. Marathe Dr. Marathe Photo

Shreehari (Raja) Marathe,
B.Tech. (IITB, 1968), M.S. (Rice, 1970), Ph.D. (Rice, 1973)
Project Director,
Varunyantra 2010 Trial Experiments

Dated: 31.May.2010

Annexure: varunyantra 2010 Data Collection

 Location Specific:

  1. Address:              Village                   Taluka                   District                  State
  2. Geographic co-ordinates:             Latitude:              Longitude:          Mean Sea Level:
  3. Photo of the location of Vajra

Experiment Specific:

  1. Experiment Conductor's names, mobile numbers and photos
  2. Two witnesses' names, mobile numbers and photos
  3. Date, Time of day, Phase of the moon
  4. Ambient Temperature
  5. Relative humidity
  6. Wind speed
  7. Cloud cover (octa)
  8. Photographs/videos of sky before experiment
  9. Biomass weight
  10. Start-up fuel used (kerosene, diesel etc) and its quantity
  11. Salt /AgI quantity
  12. Furnace Size
  13. Fire start time
  14. Fire end time (to be defined)
  15. Furnace temperature (selectively)
  16. Fire photographs/videos (start, middle, end)
  17. Satellite scan pictures of the sky (before and after)
  18. Weather forecast of the area

Rainfall Data Collection at each location:

  1. Rainfall Recorder's name, mobile and photo
  2. Two Witness's names, mobile and photo
  3. Rainfall start date, time
  4. Video of rainfall and sky conditions
  5. Rainfall stop date and time
  6. Video of sky conditions at end of rainfall
  7. Rainfall amount

Rainfall Data Collection at each co-location (surrounding villages):

  • Rainfall Recorder's name, mobile and photo
  • Two Witness's names, mobile and photo
  • Rainfall start date, time
  • Rainfall stop date and time
  • Rainfall amount © 2010 • All rights reserved