• Volume 120, Issue 3

      June 2011,   pages  337-556

    • Atmospheric correction for sea surface temperature retrieval from single thermal channel radiometer data onboard Kalpana satellite

      Naveen R Shahi Neeraj Agarwal Aloke K Mathur Abhijit Sarkar

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      An atmospheric correction method has been applied on sea surface temperature (SST) retrieval algorithm using Very High Resolution Radiometer (VHRR) single window channel radiance data onboard Kalpana satellite (K-SAT). The technique makes use of concurrent water vapour fields available from Microwave Imager onboard Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM/TMI) satellite. Total water vapour content and satellite zenith angle dependent SST retrieval algorithm has been developed using Radiative Transfer Model [MODTRAN ver3.0] simulations for Kalpana 10.5–12.5 𝜇m thermal window channel. Retrieval of Kalpana SST (K-SST) has been carried out for every half-hourly acquisition of Kalpana data for the year 2008 to cover whole annual cycle of SST over Indian Ocean (IO). Validation of the retrieved corrected SST has been carried out using near-simultaneous observations of ship and buoys datasets covering Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal and IO regions. A significant improvement in Root Mean Square Deviation (RMSD) of K-SST with respect to buoy (1.50–1.02 K) and to ship datasets (1.41–1.19 K) is seen with the use of near real-time water vapour fields of TMI. Furthermore, comparison of the retrieved SST has also been carried out using near simultaneous observations of TRMM/TMI SST over IO regions. The analysis shows that K-SST has overall cold bias of 1.17 K and an RMSD of 1.09 K after bias correction.

    • Volatile properties of atmospheric aerosols during nucleation events at Pune, India

      P Murugavel D M Chate

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      Continuous measurements of aerosol size distributions in the mid-point diameter range 20.5–500 nm were made from October 2005 to March 2006 at Pune (18° 32′N, 73° 51′E), India using Scanning Mobility Particle Sizer (SMPS). Volatilities of atmospheric aerosols were also measured at 40°, 125°, 175°, 300° and 350°C temperatures with Thermodenuder–SMPS coupled system to determine aerosol volatile fractions. Aerosols in nucleated, CCN and accumulated modes are characterized from the measured percentage of particles volatized at 40°, 125°, 175°, 300° and 350°C temperatures. Averaged monthly aerosol concentration is at its maximum in November and gradually decreases to its minimum at the end of March. The diurnal variations of aerosol concentrations gradually decrease in the night and in early morning hours (0400–0800 hr). However, concentration attains minimum in its variations in the noon (1400–1600 hr) due to higher ventilation factor (product of mixing height and wind speed). The half an hour averaged diurnal variation of aerosol number concentration shows about 5 to 10-fold increase despite the ventilation factor at higher side before 1200 hr. This sudden increase in aerosol concentrations is linked with prevailing conditions for nucleation bursts. The measurement of volatile fraction of ambient aerosols reveals that there are large number of highly volatile particles in the Aitken mode in the morning hours and these volatile fractions of aerosols at temperatures > 150°C are of ammonium chloride and ammonium sulfate, acetic and formic acids.

    • Impact of climate change on extreme rainfall events and flood risk in India

      P Guhathakurta O P Sreejith P A Menon

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      The occurrence of exceptionally heavy rainfall events and associated flash floods in many areas during recent years motivate us to study long-term changes in extreme rainfall over India. The analysis of the frequency of rainy days, rain days and heavy rainfall days as well as one-day extreme rainfall and return period has been carried out in this study to observe the impact of climate change on extreme rainfall events and flood risk in India. The frequency of heavy rainfall events are decreasing in major parts of central and north India while they are increasing in peninsular, east and north east India. The study tries to bring out some of the interesting findings which are very useful for hydrological planning and disaster managements. Extreme rainfall and flood risk are increasing significantly in the country except some parts of central India.

    • Uncertainties in downscaled relative humidity for a semi-arid region in India

      Aavudai Anandhi

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      Monthly scenarios of relative humidity (𝑅_H) were obtained for the Malaprabha river basin in India using a statistical downscaling technique. Large-scale atmospheric variables (air temperature and specific humidity at 925 mb, surface air temperature and latent heat flux) were chosen as predictors. The predictor variables are extracted from the (1) National Centers for Environmental Prediction reanalysis dataset for the period 1978–2000, and (2) simulations of the third generation Canadian Coupled Global Climate Model for the period 1978–2100. The objective of this study was to investigate the uncertainties in regional scenarios developed for RH due to the choice of emission scenarios (A1B, A2, B1 and COMMIT) and the predictors selected. Multi-linear regression with stepwise screening is the downscaling technique used in this study. To study the uncertainty in the regional scenarios of 𝑅_H, due to the selected predictors, eight sets of predictors were chosen and a downscaling model was developed for each set. Performance of the downscaling models in the baseline period (1978–2000) was studied using three measures (1) Nash–Sutcliffe error estimate (𝐸_f ), (2) mean absolute error (MAE), and (3) product moment correlation (𝑃). Results show that the performances vary between 0.59 and 0.68, 0.42 and 0.50 and 0.77 and 0.82 for 𝐸_f , MAE and P. Cumulative distribution functions were prepared from the regional scenarios of 𝑅_H developed for combinations of predictors and emission scenarios. Results show a variation of 1 to 6% 𝑅_H in the scenarios developed for combination of predictor sets for baseline period. For a future period (2001–2100), a variation of 6 to 15% 𝑅_H was observed for the combination of emission scenarios and predictors. The variation was highest for A2 scenario and least for COMMIT and B1 scenario.

    • Modelling soil moisture under different land covers in a sub-humid environment of Western Ghats, India

      B Venkatesh Lakshman Nandagiri B K Purandara V B Reddy

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      The objective of this study is to apply and test a simple parametric water balance model for prediction of soil moisture regime in the presence of vegetation. The intention was to evaluate the differences in model parameterization and performance when applied to small watersheds under three different types of land covers (Acacia, degraded forest and natural forest). The watersheds selected for this purpose are located in the sub-humid climate within the Western Ghats, Karnataka, India. Model calibration and validation were performed using a dataset comprising depth-averaged soil moisture content measurements made at weekly time steps from October 2004 to December 2008. In addition to this, a sensitivity analysis was carried out with respect to the water-holding capacity of the soils with the aim of explaining the suitability and adaptation of exotic vegetation types under the prevailing climatic conditions. Results indicated reasonably good performance of the model in simulating the pattern and magnitude of weekly average soil moisture content in 150 cm deep soil layer under all three land covers. This study demonstrates that a simple, robust and parametrically parsimonious model is capable of simulating the temporal dynamics of soil moisture content under distinctly different land covers. Also, results of sensitivity analysis revealed that exotic plant species such as Acacia have adapted themselves effectively to the local climate.

    • Assessing variability of water quality in a groundwater-fed perennial lake of Kashmir Himalayas using linear geostatics

      S Sarah Gh Jeelani Shakeel Ahmed

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      This paper presents a study on Manasbal lake, which is one of the high altitude lakes in the KashmirValley, India. Eighteen water samples were analysed for major ions and trace elements to assess the variability of water quality of the lake for various purposes. Geostatistics, the theory of regionalized variables, was then used to enhance the dataset and estimate some missing spatial values. Resultsindicated that the concentration of major ions in the water samples in winter was higher than in summer. The scatter diagrams suggested the dominance of alkaline earths over the alkali elements. Three types of water were identified in the lake that are referred to as Ca–HCO3, Mg–HCO3 and hybrid types. The lake water was found to be controlled by rock–water interaction with carbonate lithology as a dominant source of the solutes. The major (Ca2+, Mg2+, Na+, K+, NO3 and HCO$^{−}_{3}$, CO3 and Cl) and trace elements of the lake water were within the World Health Organization standards, therefore the lake water was considered chemically safe for drinking purposes. Although NO3 concentration (ranging from 1.72 to 2 mg/L), is within the permissible limit and not very alarming, the gradually increasing trend is not acceptable. It is however, important to guard its spatio-temporal variability as the water is used for domestic as well as agricultural purposes. This study is significant as hydrogeological information on such high altitude lakes in India is scanty.

    • Application and evaluation of universal kriging for optimal contouring of groundwater levels

      B V N P Kambhammettu Praveena Allena James P King

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      This paper deals with the application of universal kriging to interpolate water table elevations from their measurements at random locations. Geographic information system tools were used to generate the continuous surface of water table elevations for the Carlsbad area alluvial aquifer located to the southeast of New Mexico, USA.Water table elevations in the 38 monitoring wells that are common to 1996 and 2003 irrigation years follows normal distribution. A generalized MATLAB^® code was developed to generate omni-directional and directional semi-variograms (at 22.5° intervals). Low-order polynomials were used to model the trend as the water table profile exhibits a south-east gradient. Different theoretical semivariogram models were tried to select the base semi-variogram for performing geostatistical interpolation. The contour maps of water table elevations exhibit significant decrease in the water table from 1996 to 2003. Statistical analysis performed on the estimated contours revealed that the decrease in water table is between 0.6 and 4.5 m at 90% confidence. The estimation variance contours show that the error in estimation was more than 8m2 in the west and south-west portions of the aquifer due to the absence of monitoring wells.

    • Geospatial tools for assessing land degradation in Budgam district, Kashmir Himalaya, India

      Mehnaz Rashid Mahjoor Ahmad Lone Shakil Ahmad Romshoo

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      Land degradation reduces the ability of the land to perform many biophysical and chemical functions. The main aim of this study was to determine the status of land degradation in the Budgam area of Kashmir Himalaya using remote sensing and geographic information system. The satellite data together with other geospatial datasets were used to quantify different categories of land degradation. The results were validated in the field and an accuracy of 85% was observed. Land use/land cover of the study area was determined in order to know the effect of land use on the rate of land degradation. Normalized differential vegetation index (NDVI) and slope of the area were determined using LANDSAT-enhanced thematic mapper plus (ETM+) data, advanced space-borne thermal emission and reflection radiometer, and digital elevation model along with other secondary data were analysed to create various thematic maps, viz., land use/land cover, geology, NDVI and slopes used in modelling land degradation in the Kashmir Himalayan region. The vegetation condition, elevation and land use/land cover information of the area were integrated to assess the land degradation scenario in the area using the ArcGIS ‘Spatial Analyst Module’. The results reveal that about 13.19% of the study area has undergone moderate to high degradation, whereas about 44.12% of the area has undergone slight degradation.

    • Threat of land subsidence in and around Kolkata City and East Kolkata Wetlands, West Bengal, India

      P Sahu P K Sikdar

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      This paper attempts to estimate the possible rate of land subsidence of Kolkata City including Salt Lake City and the adjoining East Kolkata Wetlands located at the lower part of the deltaic alluvial plain of South Bengal basin. Demand of groundwater for drinking, agricultural and industrial purposes has increased due to rapid urbanization. The subsurface geology consists of Quaternary sediments comprising a succession of clay, silty clay and sand of various grades. Groundwater occurs mostly under confined condition except in those places where the top aquitard has been obliterated due to the scouring action of past channels. Currently, the piezometric head shows a falling trend and it may be accelerated due to further over-withdrawal of groundwater resulting in land subsidence. The estimated mean land subsidence rate is 13.53 mm/year and for 1 m drop in the piezometric head, the mean subsidence is 3.28 cm. The surface expression of the estimated land subsidence is however, cryptic because of a time lag between the settlement of the thick low-permeable aquitard at the top and its surface expression. Therefore, groundwater of the cities and wetland areas should be developed cautiously based on the groundwater potential to minimize the threat of land subsidence.

    • Elastic thickness estimates at north east passive margin of North America and its implications

      R T Ratheesh Kumar Tanmay K Maji Suresh Ch Kandpal D Sengupta Rajesh R Nair

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      Global estimates of the elastic thickness (Te) of the structure of passive continental margins show wide and varying results owing to the use of different methodologies. Earlier estimates of the elastic thickness of the North Atlantic passive continental margins that used flexural modelling yielded a Te value of ∼20–100 km. Here, we compare these estimates with the Te value obtained using orthonormalized Hermite multitaper recovered isostatic coherence functions. We discuss how Te is correlated with heat flow distribution and depth of necking. The E–W segment in the southern study region comprising Nova Scotia and the Southern Grand Banks show low Te values, while the zones comprising the NE–SW zones, viz., Western Greenland, Labrador, Orphan Basin and the Northern Grand Bank show comparatively high Te values. As expected, Te broadly reflects the depth of the 200$–$400°C isotherm below the weak surface sediment layer at the time of loading, and at the margins most of the loading occurred during rifting. We infer that these low Te measurements indicate Te frozen into the lithosphere. This could be due to the passive nature of the margin when the loads were emplaced during the continental break-up process at high temperature gradients.

    • Geochemistry and petrogenesis of Neoproterozoic Mylliem granitoids, Meghalaya Plateau, northeastern India

      Jyotisankar Ray Abhishek Saha Sohini Ganguly V Balaram A Keshav Krishna Sampa Hazra

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      The Mylliem granitoids of the Meghalaya Plateau, northeastern India, represent one of the disharmonic Neoproterozoic igneous plutons, which are intrusive into low-grade Shillong Group of metasediments. Field studies indicate that the Mylliem granitoids cover an area of about 40 km2 and is characterized by development of variable attitude of primary foliations mostly marked along the margin of the pluton. Xenoliths of both Shillong Group of metasediments and mafic rocks have been found to occur within Mylliem granitoids. Structural study of the primary foliation is suggestive of funnel-shaped intrusion of Mylliem granitoids with no appreciable evidence of shearing. Petrographically, Mylliem granitoids are characterized by pink to white phenocrysts of prismatic microcline/perthite and lath-shaped plagioclase (An20$–$An29). Groundmass material is characterized by quartz, microcline, plagioclase, muscovite and biotite. Sphene and apatite occur as accessory minerals. Petrographically Mylliem granitoids have been discriminated as granite and granodiorite according to IUGS system of classification.

      Critical evaluation of geochemical data and variation trends of major oxides/trace elements suggests a significant role of fractional crystallization in the evolution of Mylliem pluton. Th/U ratios (3.22–6.77) indicate a relatively higher abundance of Th over U. Chondrite-normalized REE diagram characteristically shows an enriched LREE pattern and prominent negative Eu anomaly (Eu/Eu* = 0.16–0.42) indicating the significant role of plagioclase fractionation from the parent magma. An overall strong REE fractionation pattern has been envisaged for Mylliem granitoids. The strong REE fractionation of the Mylliem granitoids is depicted by (Ce/Yb)$_N$ values, which show a range of 1.39 to 1.65. The aluminium saturation index (ASI) (ranging from 1.0 to 1.3), A/CNK ratios (ranging from 1.4 to 2.11) and A/NK ratios (ranging from 1.75 to 2.43) provide evidences for the peraluminous, S-type nature of the Mylliem granitoids. The peraluminous, S-type character is further supported by geochemical parameters such as Fe* and MALI (modified alkali lime index). Normative corundum < 1.0 wt.% is suggestive of the S-type nature of Mylliem granitoids. This is indicative of parent melt-extraction from metasedimentary source rocks by partial melting. Distinct geochemical parameters suggest a post-orogenic tectonic environment for the Mylliem granitoids. The peraluminous, calc-alkalic to alkali-calcic, post-orogenic Mylliem granitoids are geochemically correlatable with the post-orogenic Caledonian granitoids of Ireland and Britain.

    • Chemical and sulphur isotope compositions of pyrite in the Jaduguda U (–Cu–Fe) deposit, Singhbhum shear zone, eastern India: Implications for sulphide mineralization

      Dipak C Pal Surajit Sarkar Biswajit Mishra A K Sarangi

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      The Jaduguda U (–Cu–Fe) deposit in the Singhbhum shear zone has been the most productive uranium deposit in India. Pyrite occurs as disseminated grains or in sulphide stringers and veins in the ore zone. Veins, both concordant and discordant to the pervasive foliation, are mineralogically either simple comprising pyrite ± chalcopyrite or complex comprising pyrite + chalcopyrite + pentlandite + millerite. Nickel-sulphide minerals, though fairly common in concordant veins, are very rare in the discordant veins. Pyrite in Ni-sulphide association is commonly replaced by pentlandite at the grain boundary or along micro-cracks.

      Based on concentrations of Co and Ni, pyrite is classified as: type-A — high Co (up to 30800 ppm), no/low Ni; type-B — moderate Co (up to 16500 ppm) and moderate to high Ni (up to 32700 ppm); type-C — no/low Co and high Ni (up to 43000 ppm); type-D — neither Co nor Ni. Textural and compositional data of pyrites suggest that the hydrothermal fluid responsible for pre-/early-shearing mineralization evolved from Co-rich to Ni-rich and the late-/post-shearing fluid was largely depleted in minor elements. Sulphur isotope compositions of pyrite mostly furnish positive values ranging between -0.33 and 12.06%. Composite samples of pyrites with only type-A compositions and mixed samples of type-A and type-B are consistently positive. However, pyrite with mixed type-A and type-C and pyrite with type-D compositions have negative values but close to 0. By integrating minor element and sulphur isotope compositions of pyrite in conjunction with other published data on the Jaduguda deposit, it is proposed that reduced sulphur for the precipitation of most pyrites (type-A, type-B) was likely derived from isotopically heavy modified seawater. However, some later sulphur might be magmatic in origin remobilized from existing sulphides in the mafic volcanic rocks in the shear zone.

    • Petrography, geochemistry and regional significance of crystalline klippen in the Garhwal Lesser Himalaya, India

      R Islam S K Ghosh S Vyshnavi Y P Sundriya

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      Uphalda gneisses (UG) is a crystalline klippe located near Srinagar in Garhwal Himalaya. These gneisses are compared with Debguru porphyroids (DP) (≈ Ramgarh group) of Garhwal–Kumaun Himalaya and Baragaon mylonitic gneisses (BMG) of Himachal Himalaya. Petrographic study reveals that the deformation of UG was initiated at higher temperature (above 350°C) and continued till lowering of temperature and deformation led to the mylonitization.

      Geochemically, these granitic gneisses (UG, DP and BMG) exhibit similar composition. Features such as high molecular A/CNK value (< 1), presence of normative corundum and absence of normative diopside, enhanced Rb/Sr, Rb/Zr ratios, enrichment of Th and containing rounded zircons support their crustally-derived S-type granitic nature. The linear plot in major oxides is interpreted in terms of fractional crystallization processes. Mantle normalized multi-element spider diagram of UG illustrates depletion of Ba, Nb, Sr, P and Ti and enrichment of Th and show similarities with DP and BMG.

      Similarities were observed in lithology, petrographic characters and chemical composition of UG, DP, BMG and Ulleri augen gneisses (Nepal). Comparison with the rocks of Higher Himalayan crystallines (≈ Vaikrita), suggests that these rocks (UG) are not transported from Higher Himalaya as understood earlier. This study however proposes that, these gneissic bodies represent an older basement occurring as a tectonic sliver which emplaced within the cover sequence as wedges at different structural levels. This is a regional phenomena observed throughout the Lesser Himalayan region.

    • Methods for determination of the age of Pleistocene tephra, derived from eruption of Toba, in central India

      Rob Westaway Sheila Mishra Sushama Deo David R Bridgland

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      Tephra, emplaced as a result of Pleistocene eruption of the Indonesian ‘supervolcano’ Toba, occurs at many localities in India. However, the ages of these deposits have hitherto been contentious; some workers have argued that these deposits mark the most recent eruption (eruption A, ca 75 ka), although at some sites they are stratigraphically associated with Acheulian (Lower Palaeolithic) artefacts. Careful examination of the geochemical composition of the tephras, which are composed predominantly of shards of rhyolitic glass, indicates that discrimination between the products of eruption A and eruption D (ca 790 ka) of Toba is difficult. Nonetheless, this comparison favours eruption D as the source of the tephra deposits at some sites in India, supporting the long-held view that the Lower Palaeolithic of India spans the late Early Pleistocene. In principle, these tephra deposits should be dateable using the K–Ar system; however, previous experience indicates contamination by a small proportion of ancient material, resulting in apparent ages that exceed the true ages of the tephras. We have established the optimum size-fraction in which the material from Toba is concentrated, 53–61 𝜇m, and have considered possible origins for the observed contamination. We also demonstrate that Ar–Ar analysis of four out of five of our samples has yielded material with an apparent age similar to that expected for eruption D. These numerical ages, of 809 ± 51, 714 ± 62, 797 ± 45 and 827 ± 39 ka for the tephras at Morgaon, Bori, Gandhigram and Simbhora, provide a weighted mean age for this eruption of 799 ± 24 ka (plus-or-minus two standard deviations). However, these numerical ages are each derived from no more than 10–20% of the argon release in each sample, which is not ideal. Nonetheless, our results demonstrate that it is feasible, in principle, to date this difficult material using the Ar–Ar technique; future follow-up studies will therefore be able to refine our preparation and analysis procedures to better optimize the dating.

    • Paleochannel and paleohydrology of a Middle Siwalik (Pliocene) fluvial system, northern India

      Z A Khan R C Tewari

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      Late Cenozoic fresh water molasses sediments (+6000 m thick) deposited all along the length of the Himalayan fore deep, form the Siwalik Supergroup. This paper reports the results of the paleodrainage and paleohydrology of the Middle Siwalik subgroup of rocks, deposited in non-marine basins adjacent to a rising mountain chain during Pliocene. Well-exposed sections of these rocks have provided adequate paleodrainage data for the reconstruction of paleochannel morphology and paleohydrological attributes of the Pliocene fluvial system.

      Cross-bedding data has been used as inputs to estimate bankfull channel depth and channel sinuosity of Pliocene rivers. Various empirical relationships of modern rivers were used to estimate other paleohydrological attributes such as channel width, sediment load parameter, annual discharge, and channel slope and flow velocity. Computed channel depth, channel slope and flow velocity are supported independently by recorded data of scour depth, cross-bedding variability and Chezy’s equation.

      The estimates indicate that the Middle Siwalik sequence corresponds to a system of rivers, whose individual channels were about 400 m wide and 5.2–7.3 m deep; the river on an average had a low sinuous channel and flowed over a depositional surface sloping at the rate of 53 cm/km. The 700-km long Middle Siwalik (Pliocene) river drained an area of 42925 km2 to the north–northeast, with a flow velocity of 164–284 cm/s, as it flowed generally south–southwest of the Himalayan Orogen. Bed-load was about 15% of the total load of this river, whose annual discharge was about 346–1170 m3/s normally and rose to approximately 1854 m3/s during periodic floods. The Froude number of 0.22 suggests that the water flows in the Pliocene river channels were tranquil, which in turn account for the profuse development of cross-bedded units in the sandstone. The estimated paleochannel parameters, bedding characteristics and the abundance of coarse clastics in the lithic fill are rather similar to the modern braided rivers of Canada and India such as South Saskatchewan and Gomti, respectively.

    • Fine-scale responses of phytoplankton to freshwater influx in a tropical monsoonal estuary following the onset of southwest monsoon

      Suraksha M Pednekar S G Prabhu Matondkar Helga Do R Gomes Joaquim I Goes Sushma Parab Vijaya Kerkar

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      In May of 2007, a study was initiated by the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), Goa, India, to investigate the influence of monsoonal rainfall on hydrographic conditions in the Mandovi River of India. The study was undertaken at a location ∼2 km upstream of the mouth of this estuary. During the premonsoon (PreM) in May, when circulation in the estuary was dominated by tidal activity, phytoplankton communities in the high saline (35–37 psu) waters at the study site were largely made up of the coastal neritic species Fragilaria oceanica, Ditylum brightwellii and Trichodesmium erythraeum. During the later part of the intermonsoon (InterM) phase, an abrupt decline in salinity led to a surge in phytoplankton biomass (Chlorophyll 𝑎 ∼14 mg m−3), of a population that was dominated by Thalassiosira eccentricus. As the southwest monsoon (SWM) progressed and the estuary freshened salinity and Chlorophyll 𝑎 (Chl 𝑎) concentrations decreased during the MoN, Skeletonema costatum established itself as the dominant form. Despite the low biomass (Chl 𝑎 > 2 mg m−3), the phytoplankton community of the MoN was the most diverse of the entire study. During the postmonsoon (PostM), the increase in salinity was marked by a surge in dinoflagellate populations comprising of Ceratium furca, Akashiwo sanguinea, and Pyrophacus horologium.

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