Articles written in Journal of Earth System Science

    • Groundwater faecal pollution observation in parts of Indo-Ganges–Brahmaputra river basin from in-situ measurements and satellite-based observations

      Srimanti Duttagupta Animesh Bhattacharya Abhijit Mukherjee Siddhartha Chattopadhyay Soumendra Nath Bhanja Soumyajit Sarkar Pragnaditya Malakar Jayanta Bhattacharya

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      More than quarter of underprivileged global population, who lack access to basic sanitation and clean drinking water, live in India. Consequently, every year, millions suffer with enteric diseases from drinking faecal-contaminated groundwater. The UN Sustainable Development Goal lists access to safe water and basic sanitation for all by 2030, as their sixth goal. For the first time, the role of economic improvement on decrease in water-borne faecal pathogens was studied across Indo-Ganges–Brahmaputra river basin (IGB) for almost last three decades, to delineate the long-term improvement trends of groundwater quality across India, as a consequence of development. Long-term temporal (1990–2017) and high-resolution spatial (administrative block scale, n$=$2217) datasets of water-borne faecal pathogen concentration in groundwater and satellite-based nightlight (NL) were used to investigate the statistical trends and causal relationships. Linear and nonlinear (Hodrick–Prescott) trend analyses, panel data analyses, Bayesian vector autoregression (VAR) and lead–lag causality (LLC) analyses were performed on aforesaid culled datasets. However, the efficiency of development in alleviating the water quality and public health, and relationship with economic development, has not been well understood. Here, for the first time, using long-term, high-spatial resolution (n$=$2217), annual in-situ measurements and multivariate statistical models, we show that the spatially variable groundwater faecal pathogen concentration (FC, 2002–2017, $-$1.39 $\pm$ 0.01%/yr) has been significantly decreased across the basin. In most areas, increasing satellite-based NL plays a significant role (NL, 1992–2013, 3.05 $\pm$ 0.01%/yr) in reduction of FC. However, in areas with low literacy rate surpass development. Enhanced decrease of faecal coliform concentration in groundwater possibly signifies the implementation of Clean India Mission since 2014.

    • Erosion–deposition and land use/land cover of the Brahmaputra river in Assam, India


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      The Brahmaputra is a unique dynamic river in the world with intense braiding and critical bank erosion. Both erosion and deposition are continuous processes in the river in an attempt to reach a new equilibrium in channel geometry and morphology by the ever dynamic nature of flow. Erosion and deposition of the river have link to land use and land cover (LULC) as the land cover is under constant change in a dynamic landscape constantly shaped by continuous erosion and deposition. The objective of the present work is to evaluate the extent of erosion and deposition along the Brahmaputra river and change in the LULC of the Brahmaputra river in Assam, India. Remote sensing and geographic information system (GIS) techniques were utilised to extract information from Landsat images. Total area of erosion and deposition during 1973–2014 was 1557 and 204 $\rm{km}^{2}$, respectively. Increase in area (28%) of the Brahmaputra during 1973–2014 is not solely due to bank erosion, but also for the bifurcation of streams without the loss of land. LULC study has revealed that 29% area was occupied by active channels and 71% was occupied by bars in 2014. Maximum reaches experienced reduction of the submerged part in 2014 compared to 1994 in the post-monsoon months with an overall decrease from 37% to 29%. A reduction in natural grassland and forest has been observed with a corresponding increase in agricultural practices in different bars and islands of the Brahmaputra in Assam during 1994–2014.

    • Implication of submarine groundwater discharge to coastal ecology of the Bay of Bengal


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      The present study is undertaken in the eastern coast of India, along the coastal tract of Bay of Bengal (BoB), to delineate the submarine groundwater discharge (SGD)-borne nutrient flux at temporal scale and their impact to coastal ecology and biogeochemical processes. Solutes chemistry, seepage meter study, stable-isotopic signature, and geophysical techniques were used to identify the surface water–groundwater interaction zone, SGD rate and nutrient flux. The estimated rate of major annual discharge of nutrient fluxes were 240 and 224 mM $\rm{m^{-2} day^{-1}}$ for $\rm{NO}_{3}^{-}$ and Fetot. The variation of solute and nutrient fluxes was depending on the load of terrestrial water masses, which is triggered by the local monsoonal meteoric recharge. The ecohydrological response to this solute flux results in spatio-temporal patterns of N and P-sensitive algal blooms in the intertidal zones. Most algae were identified as dinoflagellates and some haptophytes, with greenish and brownish hue that provides a distinct look to the coastal landscape. The algal blooms were found to be substantially influenced by the seasonal-nutrients flux and discharge location. Our study is expected to increase the understanding of a rarely reported ecohydrological response to terrestrial–marine water interactions and their implications in the tropical ocean adjoining the Indian Subcontinent.

    • Thinking about water and air to attain Sustainable Development Goals during times of COVID-19 Pandemic


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      In 2020, we are in the doorstep of a new decade, during which the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) are to be achieved, collectively as one nation and one human-hood, where availability of safe, sustainable and clean water and air forms the core of multiple goals. However, the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic across the globe has resulted a newer challenge and paradigm for an evolving socio-scientific priorities. It is generally expected that the impacts of the pandemic would be in shorter time-scale, while the planned time and pathway for attaining the SDG are typically mandated in longer-term, hence may remain mostly unaffected. However, the stringent lockdown measures, isolated economies and financial burden to contain the pandemic emergency have resulted to slowdown of socio-economic development, which if continues for a longer period, would put a question mark on developing plans and pathways to achieve the SDGs, even in decadal-scale. Hence, in these newer times, it is important to understand the real priorities of availability of clean water and air, which are already stressed worldwide and in India, because of various natural and human-influenced triggers. This ongoing pandemic has provided an unprecedented opportunity to evaluate the impact of human development and consequent feedback of nature and human society in pre- and post-COVID scenarios on water–air–human life, which can help to re-think and re-orient the societal development priorities. It is a rare opportunity for scientists to impress the policy-makers with real-time examples on the efficacies of potential mitigation strategies for climate change, water and air pollution, and the importance of enduring investment on environmental causes and consequent benefits that can secure health and development for our future generations.


      $\bullet$ Environmental pollution and climate change pose a high risk for human survival.

      $\bullet$ Develop resilience to attain SDGs in spite of economic constraints caused by COVID-19.

      $\bullet$ Set real priorities of availability of clean water and air for future, in a unified world.

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