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Meteorological observation including UV launched in Ladakh, the westernmost part of the Tibetan Plateau

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Monday, 18 January 2010
Akiyo Yatagai, Research Institute for Humanity and Nature, Kyoto, Japan; and K. Okumiya and R. Sakamoto

Weather and climate extremes can impact everyone, but most especially vulnerable populations (e.g., the poor, aged and ill). People living in an isolated area sometimes without electricity have less communication with and accessibility to weather/climate monitoring/forecasting information sources. The high-altitude environment is one of the regions where we should make an interdisciplinary approach, especially for the relation between meteorological/climatological environment and health. High-altitude environments are generally harsh and fragile. They have little oxygen, low pressure, cold temperatures and strong ultra violet radiation. The mountain weather is changeable and sometimes mountain water resources, such as glaciers are critical for the local people. In most high-altitude environments are poor and ratio of aged people is high.

Hence, we started a meteorological observation at Ladakh, north India (3427', 7649', 3,800m) since June 2009. It is near the border of both Pakistan and China, and geographically is located in the westernmost part of the Tibetan Plateau. Climatologically, it is an arid region, since most water vapor is blocked by the surrounding mountains including the Himalayas, Zanskar, and Karakorum Ranges. We are measuring air temperature, relative humidity, air pressure, wind direction, wind speed, rainfall, upward/downward long/short wave radiation and UV-radiation and have been recording them in every 30 minutes.

The first 50 days observation (9 June to 27 July) shows every sensor working well. The air pressure is around 640-646 hPa with diurnal and synoptic-scale (1-2 week) variation and rainfall has recorded when low pressure system passed by. The temperature record shows strong diurnal variation and minimum and maximum values throughout the period are 2.3 and 24.2 degree, respectively. Since the instruments equipped at a valley, strong diurnal cycle in wind direction and speed are observed. The downward shortwave radiation showed around 1200 W/m2 and UV (A+B) radiation was around 60 W/m2 at around noontime, due to thin atmosphere and clear sky.

This observation has been started and operated by an international project (high-altitude environment) being promoted by RIHN, and medical examination of the elderly inhabitants was also done near the meteorological station. We will show the updated results of the observation data and linkage between large-scale meteorological and climatological condition of the region, the results of the station at Ladakh and health of the inhabitants.