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Precipitation Clouds
• Precipitation has been defined as water in liquid or solid forms falling to the earth. Rain, snow, hail and sleet are the common forms of precipitation. Fog dew, frost are, however, been excluded from precipitation.
• Precipitation involves the process of evaporation, condensation, saturation and precipitation. The process of condensation involves a change from water vapuor to liquid, while the process of precipitation the falling out of water as rain, hail or sleet.
• Droplets produced by the condensation process are very small in size, averaging less than 10 micrometers in diameter (compare with the human hair which is about 75 micrometers in diameter).
Forms of Precipitation
All forms of precipitation are collectively termed hydrometeors. The major types of precipitation are rain, drizzle, snow, sleet, and hail. A brief account of each one of them has been given as under.
– Rain is precipitation of water in liquid state.
– The liquid water particle, either in the form of drops or more than 0.5 mm diameter or in the form of smaller widely scattered drops. Whenever the rain drops fall from high altitude clouds, some of them evaporate while passing through a layer of dry air
• Drizzle
– When the drops of falling precipitation are very small and of uniform size, and seem to float in the air, It is called as drizzle.
– Drizzle is fairly uniform precipitation composed exclusively of uniform water drops. They are formed in very low stratus type clouds with a high water content. The relative humidity in the inter layers of air between the cloud base and the ground is often nearly 100 per cent, so that the small drops never evaporate in their journey.
• Snow
– It is precipitation of white and opaque grains of snow. In other words, snow is precipitation of solid water. Generally, in the winter season, when temperatures are below freezing in the whole atmosphere, the ice crystals falling from the alto stratus clouds do not melt and reach the ground as snow.
• Sleet
– Sleet is a type of precipitation in the form of mixture of rain and snow. It is a frozen raIn, which forms when rain, while falling to the earth, passes through a layer of cold air and freezes. Sometimes, sleet may grow into hailstorms when violent vertical currents are produced in the atmosphere.

• Hail
– A type of precipitation which falls in the form of small pellets of ice (hailstones) with a diameter between 5 to 50 mm and sometimes more. Hailstones are generally of pea size or even smaller, but in rare cases they attain the size of a baseball. Hail is the most destructive form of precipitation produced in violent thunder storms or cumulonimbus clouds. The structure of a hail resembles to that of an onion.
– Hailstorms seldom occur in the tropics and in the higher latitudes. Oceans are also almost free from them. In both the hemispheres, area lying between 30° to 60° north and south latitudes, have the maximum number of these storms.

Types of Precipitation
On the basis of characteristics precipitation may be classified under the following categories:
1. Convectional Precipitation: The convectional precipitation occurs in the areas of intense heat and abundant supply of moisture. Solar radiation is the main sources of heat to produce convection currents in the air. Convection rainfall generally results from the cumulus clouds. Thunder, lighting and occasional hails are the characteristics of this type of precipitation. The belt of doldrums generally receives this type of rainfall. Convectional rainfall is less effective for crops as much of its water is drained off in the form of surface drainage.
2. Orographic Precipitation: The type of precipitation resulting from a vertical uplift of an air stream by the topographic barrier (mountains etc,) In fact, for heavy rainfall to occur it is necessary for cyclonic or convective process to be operative because the Orographic component is normally weak and acts merely as a triggering mechanism. This type of precipitation is generally found on the wind ward sides of mountain ranges, while the leeward side receives insignificant rainfall.
3. Cyclonic or Frontal Precipitation: Cyclonic precipitation occurs when deep and extensive air masses converge and move upward which lead to their adiabatic cooling. The frontal rainfall is a characteristic of the temperate latitudes. These latitudes are the zone of convergence of the warm and cold air masses. The rainfall in these latitudes is generally in the form of drizzle. The frontal rainfall is widespread and continues for longer periods. In North West Europe and North America the rainfall is mainly of cyclonic origin. In the north-western parts of India also the winter rainfall is of frontal origin.

Distribution of Precipitation
• The world distribution of precipitation is highly uneven.
• The distribution of rainfall is closely influenced by the latitudes, temperature, relative humidity, atmospheric disturbance, and mountain barriers, movement of air masses and differential heating and cooling of the land and water surfaces.
• The average annual precipitation over the whole earth is about 80 cm (30 inches).
• The heaviest rainfall is recorded in the equatorial and monsoon regions. Heavy rainfall is also recorded in the temperate regions on the western margins of the continents.
• In the tropical latitudes, the average annual precipitation decreases from east to west while in the temperate latitudes there is a decrease in rainfall from west to east.
• The dry regions of the subtropical high pressure belt and the polar areas receive little precipitation.
• The equatorial belt is generally a region of abundant precipitation. The Amazon basin, Congo basin and several places in the islands of South East Asia receive more than 200 cm of precipitation annually. Heavy rainfall is also recorded in the Monsoon region (Mausinram and Cherapunji in Meghalaya-India) where the average annual rainfall is around. 1000 cm.
• In the temperate latitudes the precipitation occurs largely because of the temperate cyclones. Places like London, Bonn, Copenhagen, and Paris receive over 100 cm of annual precipitation.
• In the Polar Regions the low precipitation is due partly to the subsidence of air in the high pressure belts and partly due to the low temperatures of air which holds little moisture.
• The oceans record more precipitation than the land areas, and the Southern hemisphere receives more rainfall than the Northern.

Rights Related to Environment

Rights and Safeguards Related to Environment
To protect and improve the environment is a constitutional mandate. It is the commitment for a country wedded to the ideas of a welfare State.
The Indian constitution contains specific provisions for environmental protection under the chapters of Directive Principles of the State Policy and Fundamental Duties.
The absence of any specific provision in the Constitution recognizing the fundamental right to (clean and wholesome) environment has been set off by judicial activism in the recent times.
• Article 51 A (g): says that “It shall be duty of every citizen of India to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wild life and to have compassion for living creatures”.
• Article 48 A: focuses on protection and improvement of environment and safeguarding of forests and wild life. This article says: “The State shall endeavour to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wild life of the country”.
• Article 47: provides that the “State shall regard the raising of the level of nutrition and the standard of living of its people and the improvement of public health as among its primary duties.”  Protection and improvement of environment is necessary for improving the public health.
• Article 48: directs the state to take steps to organize agriculture and animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines.
• Article 21: says no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law”, has been subject to maximum scrutiny by Supreme Court, which has mandated for more than once that the right to environment, free of danger of disease and infection are inherent in this act.
• The right to healthy environment was first recognized by Supreme Court as inherent in Article 21 in the Dehradun Quarrying Case in 1988. In this case, Supreme Court gave direction to stop quarrying under Environment Protection Act. Similarly, the M.C. Mehta vs. Union of India, 1987 case also, the Supreme Court treated the right to live in pollution free environment as a fundamental right inherent under Article 21.
• Supreme Court has also interpreted Article 19(1) to tackle the menace of noise pollution. The court has maintained in PA Jacob case 1993 that freedom of speech does not include freedom to use loud speakers or sound amplifiers.
• Further, Article 19(1) (g) confers the fundamental right over citizens to practice any occupation, trade or business. But this fundamental right is subject to reasonable restrictions and citizens can not practice the business activities that cause health hazards to public.
• Apart from the above, Supreme Court (Via Article 32) and High Courts (Via Article 226) have frequently admitted to public interest litigation related to environment.

PESA, 1996

• The Provision of the Panchayat (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 popularly known as PESA was enacted to bring the Scheduled Areas in nine States of the country under the purview of national framework of Panchayat.
Salient feature of the Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 (PESA)
• Legislation on Panchayats shall be in conformity with the customary law, social and religious practices and traditional management practices of community resources
• Habitation or a group of habitations or a hamlet or a group of hamlets comprising a community and managing its affairs in accordance with traditions and customs; and shall have a separate Gram Sabha.
• Every Gram Sabha to safeguard and preserve the traditions and customs of people, their cultural identity, community resources and the customary mode of dispute resolution.
• The Gram Sabhas have roles and responsibilities in approving all development works in the village, identify beneficiaries, issue certificates of utilization of funds
• Gram Sabhas or Panchayats at appropriate level shall also have
– Powers to manage minor water bodies
– Power of mandatory consultation in matters of land acquisition;
– Powers to control institutions and functionaries in all social sectors and local plans.
– Resettlement and rehabilitation and prospecting licenses/mining leases for minor minerals
– Power to prevent alienation of land and restore alienated land
– Regulate and restrict sale/consumption of liquor
– Manage village markets, control money lending to STs and
– Ownership of minor forest produce.

Concept of Good Samaritans

• Good Samaritans is a person who gratuitously gives help or sympathy to those in distress.
• According to the Law Commission of India, 50% of those killed in road accidents could have been saved had timely assistance been rendered to them.
• Hence the Supreme Court had directed, all the states to follow the centre’s guidelines issued by Ministry of Road Transport and Highways ( MoRTH) on helping accident victims for protection of ‘Good Samaritans’ that encouraged witnesses in road accidents to report the police and also help survivors with medical treatment.
Guidelines lay down for the ‘Good Samaritans’:
• The Good Samaritans will be treated respectfully and without any discrimination on the ground of the gender, religion, nationality and cast.
• Any individual, except an eyewitness, who calls the police to inform of an accidental injury or death, need not reveal his or her personal details such as, full name, address, or the phone number.
• The police will not compel the Good Samaritans to disclose his/her name identity, address and other such details in the police record form or log register and in procuring information or anything else.
• The police will allow the Good Samaritans to leave after having provided the information available to him or her, and no further questions will be asked of him or her if he or she does not desire to be a witness.
Guidelines if Good Samaritans agree to become witness:
• He/she will be examine with almost care and respect.
• The examination will conducted at a time place of the Good Samaritans convenience and the investigation officer will be dressed in the plain clothes.
• If the Good Samaritans required by the investigation officer to visit the police station, the reason for the requirement shall be covered by the officer in writing.
• In a police station a Good Samaritans will be examined in a single examination in a reasonable time-bound manner, without causing any undue delay.
• If a Good Samaritans declared himself to be an eyewitness, she/he will allow giving her/his evidence in the form of affidavit.
• The Higher Rank holder of police that is, Superintendent or Deputy Commissioner of police is responsible to enquire in this procedure.
• Video conferencing may be used extensively during examination of Good Samaritans in order to prevent harassment and inconvenience to Good Samaritans.
• All registered public and private hospitals are not to detain Good Samaritans or demand payment for registration and admission cost unless he/she is the family member or the relative of the injured.
• All hospitals shall publish a charter in Hindi, English and the vernacular of the state or the Union Territory.
• A letter containing these guidelines shall be issued by the central and state government to all hospitals and institute under their jurisdiction, shall publish advertisement in all national and one regional newspaper including electronic media and the print media for spreading awareness amongst society and resulted in to give encouragement to more Good Samaritans.


• A blizzard is defined as a snowstorm in which air temperatures are low (generally less than -10°C) and winds of at least 30 knots (55.6 km/hr) blow falling snow or that, which has already fallen, such that visibility does not exceed 200 m. It lasts for a prolonged period of time typically three hours or more.
• It results from interrelationships among snowfall, temperature, wind and patterns of human activity.
• These winds combine with snow and blowing snow to produce extreme conditions.
• The difference between a blizzard and a snowstorm is the strength of the wind, not the amount of snow.
• While severe cold and large amounts of drifting snow may accompany blizzards, they are not required.
• Blizzard conditions of cold temperatures and strong winds can cause wind chill values that can result in hypothermia or frostbite. The wind chill factor is the amount of cooling the human body feels due to the combination of wind and temperature.
Types of Blizzards
1. Snowstorm-Type Blizzard
• A “traditional” blizzard is, for all intents and purposes, a snowstorm. This means that a blizzard will often include heavy snow and below-freezing temperatures. What makes a blizzard different than a snowstorm is that, unlike snowstorms, a blizzard must have high winds of at least 35mph, or 56 km/h. Additionally, a blizzard must reduce visibility to no more than 1,300 feet for extended periods of time.
2. Ground Blizzard
• Ground blizzards are different from traditional blizzards in that they do not dump any kind of significant snowfall. Instead a ground blizzard occurs when high winds blow snow that has already fallen. There are three main types of ground blizzards: horizontal advection, which has wind blowing horizontally across the Earth’s surface, picking up snow and blowing it; vertical advection, in which there is an upward draft with the wind, blowing the snow high into the atmosphere to create waves hundreds of feet in height; and thermal-mechanical, which is essentially a combination of the previous two. While the latter is rare, it can bury a two-story house and be seen from space.
3. Lake-Effect Blizzard
• Lake-effect blizzards, seen most commonly along the shorelines of larger lakes such as the Great Lakes Region of North America, are the products of lake-effect snow combined with high winds. Lake-effect blizzards are relatively rare due to how lake-effect snow is formed. When cold winter winds blow across the warmer lake water, the winds lift the water vapor into the air and this is dumped along the shoreline. Because lake-effect snow doesn’t often rise when the winds blow too fast, lake-effect blizzards are rare events.


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