On the Sidelines of ACAM workshop: Multi-country Study of the Persistent Winter Fog over Indo-Gangetic Plains

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Winter fog is a natural meteorological phenomenon caused by water droplets suspended in the air and is part of winter weather in the region.

This meeting aims to discuss the on-going progress, and to continue the ICIMOD-led joint plans to study about science, impacts, and policy aspects of the persistent fog over the Indo-Gangetic Plains (IGP) during winters. The meeting will take place on the sidelines of the Second Workshop on Atmospheric Composition and the Asian Summer Monsoon (ACAM) in Bangkok, Thailand. Atmospheric scientists from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal will participate in the meeting. 

In winter, December to February, temperature drops below 10 ˚C causing widespread fog which has been noticed along north-eastern Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan covering about 1500 km. The change in patterns has resulted in a new phenomenon of dense fog in the last two decades that persists continuously for many days in the winter season directly affecting human activities, causing disruptions in road, rail, and air traffic, and leading to accidents due to low visibility. It has also led to winter crop loss and caused cold waves resulting in sickness and loss of human lives in the region. 

Therefore, this joint research envisages pilot studies in the above mentioned countries; part of which was done in 2014-2015 winter, and is being followed up by a full-scale study in the coming 2015-2016 winter. Scientists from the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) and Institute of Space Technology in Pakistan, and the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), and the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) in India are actively collecting ground observation, conducting satellite data analysis, and using meteorological models to understand the atmospheric processes. Similarly, scientists from Dhaka University and North-south University in Bangladesh, and delegates from Bhutan continue to participate with enthusiasm in both the science and assessment of impacts.