IISc study derives rice grain as a climate historian

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Researchers from IISc has displayed the potential of rice grain as a weather predictor because it recorded the relative humidity, amount of water vapour in air and changes in monsoon. Rice cultivation in India completely depends on the arrival of southwest monsoon and this trend has been prevalent since the Harappan civilization.

The study introduces the concept of a steady relationship between stable isotope composition of oxygen and carbon in rice grains with relative humidity. Two stable isotopes of carbon and two isotopes of oxygen are used to determine the climate conditions when the rice was growing. This research can provide valuable information regarding the Harappan civilization’s climate condition and the evidence of its gradual destruction 3000 years ago.

105 varieties of rice grain were collected from 23 different locations across India midst the rainy season from places starting from Jammu to Andaman and Nicobar islands laying in different climate zones. Depending on the relative humidity in the atmosphere and water used for cultivation, the isotopes of oxygen and carbon in the rice grain was studied.

As per the researchers we will be able to understand the complete authenticity of the food along with past climate. This includes geographic origin of food, food quality and safety eventually consumer protection. Several cases of food adulteration can be derived from the research results.

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Long term variability of southwest monsoon, climate derivations and climate resistant rice varieties are some of the results this research derives. Understanding the dependency of wheat on climate parameters have been the major challenge which can be resolved based on this study.

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