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DST Hosts Climate Change Conclave at IIT Delhi to Enhance AI-Driven Climate Modeling

New Delhi: The Department of Science and Technology (DST) organized a two-day Climate Change Conclave at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi from May 27–28, 2024. The event convened experts from across India to discuss the development of foundational models in Artificial Intelligence (AI) for climate modeling, data quality control, improving climate predictions, and enhancing community engagement for climate adaptation solutions.

The conclave featured key speakers including Dr. Swati Jain, Dr. Shyamasree Dasgupta, Prof. N.H. Ravindranath, Prof. Saroj K. Mishra, Dr. Akhilesh Gupta (Senior Adviser, DST), Prof. Abhay Karandikar (Secretary, DST), Dr. Anita Gupta (Head, CEST, DST), Dr. Susheela Negi, and Dr. Anamika Barua.

Prof. Abhay Karandikar, Secretary of DST, highlighted the significant progress made under the National Mission for Sustaining Himalayan Ecosystem (NMSHE) and the National Mission on Strategic Knowledge for Climate Change (NMSKCC). “These missions have supported 19 Centers of Excellence and 37 major R&D programs over the years. There is a pressing need to develop foundational models in AI specific to the Indian context,” he stated.

During the conclave, Prof. Karandikar released the draft executive summary of the “District Level Climate Risk Assessment for India,” emphasizing that indigenous climate models based on local data can enhance understanding and address climate change effectively. He stressed the importance of a holistic approach involving researchers from various disciplines and stakeholders to tackle climate change challenges impacting agriculture, water resources, and the environment.

Dr. Akhilesh Gupta, Senior Advisor at DST, discussed the evolution of DST’s Climate Change Programme and its interventions in the National Actions Plan for Climate Change (NAPCC). He urged communities to collaborate actively towards practical solutions, stressing the need to secure the future for coming generations.

Dr. Anita Gupta, Head of Climate, Energy, and Sustainable Technology (CEST) at DST, highlighted the vulnerability of 40% of the world’s population to adverse climate effects. She elaborated on DST’s missions under NAPCC that support R&D programs across the country. Dr. Gupta also mentioned Mission Innovation, a global initiative for clean energy solutions in which DST participates.

Prof. Rangan Banerjee, Director of IIT Delhi, showcased the efforts of the Centre of Excellence on climate change modeling at IIT Delhi. He discussed innovative mitigation technologies such as coal-to-methanol conversion, blue hydrogen production, and carbon capture and storage.

The conclave saw participation from several climate change experts and institutions, including IIT Delhi, IIT Bhubaneshwar, Banaras Hindu University, University of Delhi, Kashmir University, IISc, University of Allahabad, Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, India Meteorological Department, ICRISAT, and DST Centers of Excellence.

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