The earth is elliptical in shape. It has three spheres. They are:
1. Hydrosphere: the water portion.
2. Lithosphere: the solid portion.
3. Atmosphere: the gaseous portion.
The atmosphere is defined as “The colourless, odourless and tasteless physical mixture of gases which surrounds the earth on all sides”. It is mobile, compressible and expansible.
Uses of atmosphere for agriculture:
The uses of atmosphere are: It
1. Provides oxygen which is useful for respiration in crops.
2. Provides carbon-dioxide to build biomass in photosynthesis.
3. Provides nitrogen which is essential for plant growth.
4. Acts as a medium for transportation of pollen.
5. Protects crop plants on earth from harmful U.V. rays.
6. Maintains warmth to plant life.
7. Provides rain to field crops as it is a source of water vapour, clouds etc.
Meteorology is defined as
♦ “The science of atmosphere”.
♦ “A branch of physics of the earth dealing with physical processes in the atmosphere that Produce weather”
It is defined as “The science dealing with the factors which determine and control the distribution of climate over the earth’s surface”. Different factors affecting the climate of a region are:
3. Land and water.
4. Winds and air masses
5. Low and high pressure belts.
6. Mountain barriers.
7. Ocean currents.
8. Extent of forests, etc.
The above factors are also known as “climatic elements”
Agriculture is defined as “The art and science of production and processing of plant and animal life for the use of human beings”. It is also defined as “A system for harvesting or exploiting the solar radiation”. Agriculture deals with three most complex entities viz., soil, plant and atmosphere and their interactions. Among these three, atmosphere is the most complex entity over the other two. It is defined as
• “The study of those aspects of meteorology that have direct relevance to agriculture”. It is also defined as
• “A branch of applied meteorology which investigates the responses of crops to the physical conditions of the environment”.
• “An applied science which deals with the relationship between weather/climatic conditions and agricultural production”.
• “A science concerned with the application of meteorology to the measurement and analysis of the physical environment in agricultural systems”.
• The word `Agro meteorology’ is the abbreviated form of agricultural meteorology.
Practical Utility / Importance / Economic Benefits / Significance of Study of Agricultural Meteorology:
In a broad manner the study of agricultural meteorology helps in
1. Planning cropping systems / patterns.
2. Selection of sowing dates for optimum crop yields.
3. Cost effective ploughing, harrowing, weeding etc.
- Reducing losses of applied chemicals and fertilizers.
- Judicious irrigation to crops.
- Efficient harvesting of all crops.
- Reducing or eliminating outbreak of pests and diseases.
- Efficient management of soils which are formed out of weather action.
- Managing weather abnormalities like cyclones, heavy rainfall, floods, drought etc. This can be achieved by
Protection: When rain is forecast avoid irrigation. But, when frost is forecast apply irrigation.
Avoidance: Avoid fertilizer and chemical sprays when rain is forecast.
Mitigation: Use shelter belts against cold and heat waves.
- Effective environmental protection.
- Avoiding or minimising losses due to forest fires.
Scope of agricultural meteorology
In addition to the points mentioned above, the influence of weather on agriculture can be on a wide range of scales in space and time. This is reflected in the scope of agricultural meteorology as detailed below:
1. At the smallest scale, the subject involves the study of micro scale processes taking place within the layers of air adjacent to leaves of crops, soil surfaces, etc. The agro meteorologists have to study the structure of leaf canopies which effects the capture of light and how the atmospheric carbon dioxide may be used to determine rates of crop growth.
2. On a broader scale, agro meteorologists have to use the standard weather records to analyse and predict responses of plants.
3. Although the subject implies a primary concern with atmospheric processes the Agro meteorologist is also interested in the soil environment because of the large Influence which the weather can have on soil temperature and on the availability of water and nutrients to plant roots.
4. The agro meteorologist also be concerned with the study of glass houses and other protected environments designed for improving agricultural production.
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