True lies of biometric technology in Aadhaar enrolment

Let’s ask the professors UIDAI cited in its latest report: Do you agree with UIDAI’s assessment of Aadhaar? Do you share their confidence in the project? Did UIDAI ask you in advance, before using your name for their marketing purposes?

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) have been accused of making false claims about the reliability of the biometrics that its unique identification number (UID) or Aadhaar scheme relies on. The report released earlier this week by UIDAI is in response to those criticisms.

UIDAI say that “… based on the analysis, it can be stated with confidence that UIDAI enrolment system has proven to be reliable, accurate and scalable to meet the nation’s need of providing unique Aadhaar numbers to the entire population. It is now safe to conclude that the system will be able to scale to handle the entire population”. But that is mere assertion, it begs the question, they would say that, wouldn't they.

They need independent and respected biometrics experts to agree with them, if this report is to boost confidence in UIDAI’s abilities. They mention several names. The casual reader may assume that these named experts all agree with UIDAI’s conclusion that Aadhaar will work. It would be instructive to ring them up and ask them directly for their opinion.

Does Professor John Daugman, for example, agree with UIDAI when they say that “… although [the false positive identification rate of 0.057%] is expected to grow as the database size increases, it is not expected to exceed manageable values even at full enrolment of 120 crores”? It seems unlikely—Professor Daugman is the man who first pointed out that any attempt to prove uniqueness in a large population of biometrics must drown in a sea of false positives, please see

And does Professor Jim Wayman, for example, agree with UIDAI when they say that “… based on the [receiver operating characteristic] model, the UIDAI expects the accuracy of the system to remain within the same order of magnitude as reported above. Hence it can be stated that system will be able to scale to handle the entire population without significant drop in accuracy”? It seems unlikely—Professor Wayman is the lead author of a paper which concludes that biometrics is a discipline out of statistical control, the results gathered so far tell you nothing about what to expect in future, please see
http://biometrics.nist.gov/cs_links/ibpc2010/pdfs/FundamentalIssues_
Final.pdf

If the two professors agree with UIDAI and renounce their earlier statements, well and good.

But if, on the other hand, they say that they have no reason to believe that UIDAI is right, they have not had a chance to assess the evidence that UIDAI claims to have, they do not understand why UIDAI has mentioned their names, then this schoolboy attempt to justify UIDAI’s waste of public money will fall humiliatingly flat on its face.

(David Moss spent eight years campaigning against the UK’s National ID (NID) card scheme, which was finally scrapped by the British government. Mr Moss is an MA in Philosophy from Cambridge University, MSc in Software Engineering from Kingston. With a career spanning of over 35 years, Mr Moss at present works as director at Business Consultancy Services Ltd and can be contacted at [email protected])

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    COMMENTS

    Prashant

    7 years ago

    Professor John Daugman has raised some serious issues and we can trust just a single authority UIDAI for such a important and big project we must scale the project to many authorities and also monitor them closely because identity theft can be a big issue and threat to security of India. Government must think about it instead of getting overwhelmed by the concept.

    Mathew

    8 years ago

    A discussion on biometric technology could be of some academic interest. I am puzzled why this is a continuing focus in the debate here. Several other aspects are perhaps more important. For example, 'Headlines Today' TV reported just now (Feb 3, 8.45 PM) the news of the Agriculture Minister's goons raping a rape witness. Another report today from Canada is on a bribe allegation against the former Aviation Minister. A chief minister is under investigation by a Special Team appointed by the Supreme Court. A former Telecom Minister is in jail. The Supreme Court has asked the allegation against the Home Minister to be decided by the trial court. Are these the people who would be in charge of the biometric database of the people?
    If UID is meant for ensuring that welfare benefits reach the poor, beneficiaries, why is UIDAI enrolling those ineligible for such subsidies? How would the database be used for the poor? Will authentication be done at the 600,000 ration shops at delivery? If not how would UID be used to ensure the poor receive the rations? UIDAI and the advocates of the UID would never answer these and many such questions. Why waste time on technology, if issues of use and implementation are not included in the debate?



    REPLY

    Ram Das

    In Reply to Mathew 8 years ago

    Mathew: You are absolutely correct. The focus must be on the use or applications of Aadhaar. And yes, as PDS adopts Aadhaar, duplicates will first be reduced. Then each state PDS department has to evaluate eligibility of ones still on the list. In case of LPG cyclinder, trial is already underway where each delivery is verified by authenticating the resident with Aadhaar number.

    Hanuman

    In Reply to Ram Das 8 years ago

    Ram Dasji....Here is an eyeopener for everyone who is (still) under the impression that UID will resolve the PDS and other supply problems. http://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/report_dn...

    Ram Das

    In Reply to Hanuman 8 years ago

    Thank you for pointing out another reason to use a system that works. UID is already being used for gas cylinder delivery in Karnataka and for MGNREGS payments in Jharkhand. We can debate as much as we like. Those who want to move forward are already going ahead.

    Ram Das

    8 years ago

    Critics Argument goes like: We don't trust UIDAI. Therefore their numbers are bogus. Therefore they are fraud/liers etc.
    Perfect tautology.
    Facts:
    1. UIDAI results are the same across PoC, 100M DB and are consistent with other large accepted NIST like results.
    2. UIDAI has presented results in over 6 papers in the the most prestigious biometric conferences.
    3. UIDAI hired world's top most biometric experts in design and testing.
    4. Two good multimodal biometric will generate 100 to 10,000 better results than single mode biometric. You will find this in any introductory biometric textbook.
    Nothing is out of ordinary except India is able to execute a project efficiently, within schedule and in reasonable budget.

    Mr. Moss, if you want to check out facts, please attend International Biometric Conference in Delhi in March 2012. You can check your statistics with 200 biometric experts including Daugman and Wayman.

    REPLY

    Samir Kelekar

    In Reply to Ram Das 8 years ago

    We asked some relevant and reasonable questions to Aadhar and no answers were forthcoming. It is then that distrust began, not before. Where is the feasibility study, where is the cost benefit analysis ? Where is a full life cycle PoC ? Does authentication work at all? How does Aadhar handle fake fingerprints ? There are no answers from Aadhar for these questions even now. Then there are other questions of privacy, linking of database, and how Aadhar will plug leakages. Again no answers. Then there is the freedom v/s authoritarian issue, no answers forthcoming. Then there is the question as why public money is used for doing something that is needed by private companies for marketing. No answers forthcoming. Questions of security of the database, and why a centralized one. No answers forthcoming. What happens if someone's biometric is stolen ? No answers forthcoming. Heck, biometrics is already stolen by fake enrollers. I would go on and on. Will any private company if it were the customer of Aaddhar would pay for such junk? But then we know what happens in Indian govt. Hope you read about cancellation of 122 licences by Supreme court. This is called "Andher Nagari chowpat raja". India is for sale and loot.

    David Moss

    In Reply to Ram Das 8 years ago

    Dear Ram
    Good to hear from you again, http://www.moneylife.in/article/how-uida...
    I went to Biometrics 2009, a three-day biometrics conference and exhibition here in the UK and facts were hard to find, http://forum.no2id.net/viewtopic.php?t=2...
    It was a groupthink event. Sealed off from the outside world, all the delegates thought that everything was rosy in the biometrics garden, and each one reinforced the other’s unfounded confidence. So, no thank you, I shan’t be in Delhi next month.
    Re your facts, the FPIR we were all pointed at in the PoC report was 0.0025%. Now, in the enrolment report, it’s 0.057%, 22.8 times worse. Consistent?
    Aadhaar is sui generis. UIDAI won’t learn from the experts and the textbooks, it’s the other way round.
    And no-one will learn from the poorly-conceived and abysmally presented papers produced by UIDAI, all way below the standard demanded of respectable academic authorities. They inspire no confidence.
    Your “Critics Argument” couldn’t be more wrong. If you are interested in investing in BAT shares, you don’t do so just because a BAT director tells you how marvellous the company is. You check the audited report and accounts first. That’s not to say that the BAT director is a liar. It’s just dutiful prudence.
    Aadhaar is an investment. A big one, around Rs. 72,000 crore according to http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/art...
    Your money, Ram, is being invested in the project. Are you happy that that investment of your money is prudent? Do you think Aadhaar will curtail corruption? Or automate corruption?
    Do you seriously think the banks will accept nothing but Aadhaar biometrics to authenticate payments? That’s the acid test. Maybe they will, but the history of uninterrupted failure of mass consumer biometrics is against it happening.
    I choose BAT as an example because, back in 1980, I did some work at BAT (UK & Export) Ltd, here in the UK. They were converting their computer systems from Burroughs Medium Systems to something else and they used an Indian company to re-write the software. Their IT director told me he was staggered. Not only did the Indians do the conversion job, but they corrected all the errors in the system that BAT knew about and many they didn’t and they supplied an unparalleled set of test data.
    That has coloured my view of India ever since and you’re wrong if you think I am trying in any way to denigrate Indian abilities.
    For that, for a slab of high-handed Indian denigration, de haut en bas, we know best, take a look at The Economist magazine here http://www.dmossesq.com/2012/01/economis... and here http://www.dmossesq.com/2012/02/economis...
    Or take a look at Morpho. You think, and I think, that Aadhaar is an Indian achievement. Morpho don’t. They think it’s a French achievement: “Morpho is in charge of all technological aspects of Aadhaar”, they say, http://www.morpho.com/references/identit... Maybe someone should tell Mr Nilekani he needn’t come into the office, he’s not needed, not now Morpho are here.

    David Moss

    8 years ago

    ANGER AND FEAR AT UIDAI'S PLOY

    QUOTE

    From: Planet Biometrics Editorial Team [mailto:[email protected]]
    Sent: 27 January 2012 11:57
    To: [email protected]
    Subject: Planet Biometrics e-newsletter

    Welcome to the Planet Biometrics e-newsletter

    Dear Colleagues

    Welcome to our next Planet Biometrics e-newsletter.

    This week the Indian UIDAI released an incredibly positive report into the performance of biometrics at an unprecedented scale. Bearing in mind the number of naysayers that have continually doubted the performance of biometric technology and who predicted that India would "drown in a sea of false positives" [1], our industry should be waving thi9s report from the treetops.
    Next week we will be running a full-length feature article on the findings of the report and the workings of the project.
    ****************************
    Why not forward this newsletter on to a colleague so that they can also subscribe by clicking here [2]
    Best regards
    Mark Lockie
    Editor

    UNQUOTE

    It's just a guess, but I bet that there will be no full-length feature article on the findings of the report and the workings of the project next week, or any other week. Mr Lockie's masters must be furious at and frightened by UIDAI's ill-considered report.
    UIDAI faced an existential threat. They had to do something, to survive. So they produced this report, 'Role of Biometric Technology in Aadhaar Enrollment' [3], to demonstrate that their biometrics are reliable and that there is therefore a point to their existence.
    Unfortunately, UIDAI have over-egged the pudding. And gilded the lily. Their ploy will be written up in the business school manuals for years to come in the how-not-to-do-it section, what-seemed-like-a-good-idea-at-the-time-blows-up-in-your-face category.
    Look at it from the biometrics suppliers' point of view. UIDAI have claimed astonishing reliability for their biometrics, a reliability that has never been seen before and which no respectable expert has ever predicted before – "incredible" and "unprecedented", as Mark says. What are Morpho [4], for example, supposed to say now, when potential customers approach them saying that they, too, want a biometric failure to enrol rate of 0.14 percent and a false positive identification rate of 0.057 percent and a false negative identification rate of 0.035 percent?
    Morpho and the others have eschewed the publication of performance figures for years. They look like warranties. And why give warranties if you don't have to?
    Existing customers with worse performance figures will want to know why they haven't achieved the same reliability as UIDAI claim to have done. Again, what do Morpho say to them? "We sold you a defective product compared with UIDAI's"? Or maybe "UIDAI just made the numbers up, it's all politics, don't worry their performance is actually just as bad as yours"?
    Morpho [5] must wish UIDAI hadn't published that report.
    What are the banks going to say? "UIDAI's performance is so good, apparently, that we ought to be using the same technology to authenticate payments all over the world, not just in India. Still, better check first, can we see the independent audit of UIDAI's figures, please? Purely a formality but, you know, have to tick all the boxes ..."?
    No, the attempt will be made to bury that UIDAI report as quickly and as thoroughly as possible (save your copy now [3]). And Mark Lockie will be asked/told to keep quiet. "No full-length feature articles please, Mark, as you always say, you're 'not technical', just forget it. Now. That's an order."

    ----------
    1. Possibly a reference to David Moss, naysayer and author of 'India's ID card scheme – drowning in a sea of false positives', http://dematerialisedid.com/BCSL/Drown.h...
    2. http://www.planetbiometrics.com/user/reg...
    3. http://uidai.gov.in/images/FrontPageUpda...
    4. http://dematerialisedid.com/BCSL/Garlic....
    5. "Morpho is in charge of all technological aspects of Aadhaar ...", http://www.morpho.com/references/identit...

    REPLY

    Observer

    In Reply to David Moss 8 years ago

    Seems like Moss has fun talking to himself...
    Every one of his articles on UIDAI has now been discredited, and yet he asks some of the most eminent professors guiding the UIDAI project (Daugman/Wayman) to reply. Not likely!
    As for drowning in a sea of false positives, even a fool could see that Prof. Daugman made his comments warning that this could happen without iris. Our Indian project uses iris...
    Moss should grow a backbone and admit he is wrong. Even in the face of facts he blindly refuses to accept that this multi-modal, multi-supplier project is delivering impressive results. Moss is happy to quote reports inaccurately when he feels like it. But disregards them as rubbish when they contradict his anti-biometric bile.
    Mr Moss, you are, Sir, a Luddite in the extreme. Feel free to talk to yourself some more...
    Posted anonymously for obvious reasons...

    David Moss

    In Reply to Observer 8 years ago

    In the charmed world inhabited by Observer, UIDAI's biometrics are reliable because UIDAI say they are.

    Not good enough. This is politics. Samir Kelekar clearly understands that. So does Indian. So does Mathew. Why doesn't Observer?

    Because he isn't observant. Observer misses the promise already made, in the response to Dingy, willingly to apologise if and when there is a reason to do so.

    In the meantime, the Prime Minister has given UIDAI and NPR equal shares of the Indian population, 60 crore each. Is the technology used by the two organisations equal? We don't know.

    Instead of making a technology decision, a political decision has been made, a decision UIDAI have lobbied for worldwide, not least through The Economist magazine, whom UIDAI seem to have successfully suborned, http://www.dmossesq.com/2012/01/economis...

    Next comes the financial decision. Will Parliament vote the money needed for Aadhaar's next phase? Perhaps the money men will be more observant. This is public money after all, and public money should not be wasted.

    Samir Kelekar

    In Reply to Observer 8 years ago

    Even in the face of facts? Since when did UIDAI's sales spin become facts? It would be good if UIDAI can get some acknowledged expert do an independent audit and let us know the truth.

    Indian

    In Reply to Observer 8 years ago

    Only time will tell, who is wrong, the UIDAI, Moss or Observer. But in all the process, we Indians are going to be tagged with free access to anyone to our biometrics. Why they are not using biometrics in the US and in the UK for their own residents, may I ask? Why single out only Indians? Any observation for obvious reason....

    David Moss

    8 years ago

    NPR uses biometrics.
    NREGA uses biometrics.
    UIDAI uses biometrics.
    UIDAI claims to have achieved a biometric failure to enrol rate (B-FTE) of 0.14 percent and a false positive identification rate (FPIR) of 0.057 percent and a false negative identification rate (FNIR) of 0.035 percent.
    What are the equivalent figures for NPR and NREGA?

    David Moss

    8 years ago

    Dingy

    Lovely to hear from you.
    UIDAI faced an existential threat. They had to do something, to survive.
    They elected to produce a report claiming that their use of biometrics in Aadhaar is reliable.
    They may have slightly over-egged the pudding or gilded the lily – rather than mere reliability, their report claims near-perfection.
    Not only has a biometric failure to enrol rate of 0.14%, a false positive identification rate of 0.057% and a false negative identification rate of 0.035% never been simultaneously claimed before, but no respectable expert has ever suggested that it is achievable.
    One must therefore look at these figures with some circumspection.
    The biometrics suppliers such as Morpho must be having kittens. They don't like performance figures being published – they look like warranties, and that's the last thing they want to give.
    The banks must be scratching their heads. If this sort of reliability is achievable, how come they aren't authenticating payments with biometrics all over the world?
    By all accounts, UIDAI's ploy has worked and the Prime Minister has given the go-ahead for a further 400 million enrolments. Well done, UIDAI.
    But now there's a price to pay. More and more people are going to want to see those figures audited.
    Because if they are correct, Dingy, not only will I apologise but the world will change, this will be a revolution.
    Conversely, if they turn out to be a cynical trick to stay in business, UIDAI are going to have to run fast, ahead of 1.2 billion Indians who want their money back and there may not be time for them to apologise first.
    What do you think, Dingy? Which way will it go?

    Best wishes
    dm

    Dingy Moss

    8 years ago

    Another article in david moss's truthless campaign on biometrics. Some time back the same guy written articles that UID can not even be generated for 1 crore people and had also predicted that UIDAI will drown in sea of false positives.

    But UIDAI has proved that, all that talk was non sense and they have successfully created 12 crore numbers. Mr Moss has to apologize for his past arrogance.

    REPLY

    Mathew

    In Reply to Dingy Moss 8 years ago

    Have the adherents of UID forgotten the frauds that the enrollers have been committing? For example, a number of people were enrolled with references provided by a fake doctor, a MLA's and a MP's offices. This is the 'Headlines Today' expose. No one knows how many such enrolments have been done. Could many of these be foreigners, criminals, etc? How would these people be identifies, if they are illegal immigrants or Headley's collaborators? There seems to be an urge to increase enrolments. Why? Is this a Guinness record to be beaten? UIDAI technologists seem to have forgotten GIGO! It is not enrolment, but accuracy of the data for the purpose for which the enrolment is done that is important. If it to save subsidies, then one must find out if the enrolled person is eligible or not. If it is for citizenship, then one must find whether the person is a citizen or not. No amount of biometric accuracy would help in any of these.

    Samir Kelekar

    In Reply to Dingy Moss 8 years ago

    What does it take to generate 12 crore ids ? A database and some printer paper. Are you swallowing the spin doled by UIDAI that it is 99.xxx % accurate ? You seem to be totally ignorant of the realities of this world. Never trust a sales man's sales talk. Check out things for yourself.

    Indeed, UIDAI is also silent about how easily fingerprints can be faked. A criminal waste of money aka 2G scam. MMS doesnt seem to learn anything from past mistakes.

    Samir Kelekar

    8 years ago

    UIDAI patting its own back, and MMS listening to it extending UIDAI's mandate?

    Indeed, the pathetic level of this govt. couldnt have been better revealed than this.

    It is such decisions without any thinking that allow people such as Kasab to come and do what they want in this country. And who is going to pay for this collosal waste of public money? It is time to show the door to the Congress in this election in the states. I am out campaigning against Congress in my home state Goa.

    samir

    ST driver goes berserk in Pune killing 9, injuring 27. Will he be finally let off as ‘mentally disturbed’?

    It was a Black Day for Pune, reminiscent of the ghastly German Bakery Blast when innocent lives were snuffed out in minutes. Today, it was a maniac driver who went berserk on busy streets killing 9 and injuring 27 within an hour’s drive

    Santosh Mane, the driver of Maharashtra State Transport Undertaking (ST) who had joined just two years back returned early this morning from an official run to Gangapur, known for black magic and located about 60 km from Solapur. While his colleagues believe it has something to do with he being ‘possessed’’ of some evil spirit that led him to do a dastardly act, the wicked reality was that a few hours later, around 8.15 am, he steered an empty ST bus through busy streets, where children were going to school, the elderly were returning from their morning walks and youngsters were heading towards their colleges and vendors were carting their goods for another day of business.

    Mr Mane drove like a maniac for a good 16-odd km for nearly an hour, before he killed nine innocent people, mostly youngsters, injured 27 and damaged 30-odd vehicles. As news spread like wildfire, the rumour doing rounds was that terrorists had entered a bus and were on a killing spree. The reality was that Mr Mane, who later claimed “he did not know what he was doing’’ (and sorry there would be hopefully no divine intervention to salvage him), could not be stopped even by the cop who bravely climbed from the rear of the bus on to the rooftop and fired eight rounds on the vehicle, but to no avail. (Let us not delve prematurely into the fact of whether his pistol should have aimed at the tyres to deflate them or straight on to Mr Mane). It was only after nearly an hour of horrendous destruction of life and limbs that he could be stopped, after he hit a bigger vehicle leading to the slowing down of his bus.

     After receiving beating from the public, which was chasing the bus on two-wheelers and the police van which was hounding him, Mr Mane has been handed over to the city Crime Branch for interrogation.  According to Pune Police Commissioner MeeranBorwankar, “Though police put up barricades at various spots when they received alerts, Mane simply drove through them and carried on.’’

     The injured were rushed to various hospitals but mainly to the largest public hospital of Pune, the Sassoon General Hospital. The doctors might have attended to the injured immediately but it’s not surprising to note that the CT scanner has been out of order since the last one-and-a-half years and so most of the patients had to be sent to a private hospital. One of the relatives mentioned that he has been patiently waiting for five hours and yet his nephew has not been sent for the CT scan. So much for the lessons learnt after the German Bakey Blast that occurred on 13 February 2010 when 27 young lives were lost and there was utter chaos to treat the injured who were rushed to Sassoon.

    While questions would be raised about how Mr Mane was permitted to drive the ST bus out of the Swargate Depot (Ms Borwankar mentioned he had access to the master key as he was a regular employee), the fact is that families of the injured were being treated callously and like non-entities at Sassoon. Just as we saw in the Delhi blasts, VIP politicians (remember PMC elections are round the corner) were rushing as fast as they could to Sassoon to meet the injured and face television cameras. Predictably again, police bandobast was geared towards ensuring smooth VIP visit rather than hearing the cries of the near and dear ones who wanted information about the injured. Again, no lessons learnt from the German Bakery Blast where the scenario was ditto.

     Now, let us see what the law enforcing authorities do with Santosh Mane? Will he be cozily imprisoned for endless time like AjmalKasab? Will he be in the news till public memory fades? Or will Pune witness history with a fast court trial and severe punishment to this culprit? As an agonized mother shouted, “No, no he is not mad, he has purposely killed so many.’’ She wants stringent punishment—that’s the least society can do for her.

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    COMMENTS

    sanjay

    8 years ago

    This shows how mental health is a neglected area.Most employers go to any length to ensure physical health of their employees but treatment for psychiatric problems is too late and too little.

    sachin

    8 years ago

    Would a fully sane person have done such a thing, knowing that he would be eventually caught by the police or the public?

    No.

    Did the accused gain anything from it?

    No.

    I don't see any reason why the accused should not be treated as a "mentally disturbed" person.

    Narendra Doshi

    8 years ago

    One of the TV channels reported that Mane was harassed, mentally tortured, bribes were demanded from him by depot/route manager etc etc for duty routes, salary etc by the Swar Gate Depot manager; has lost his wife few years ago, has two grown up daughters etc. They also interviewed an young motorbike man who entered the bus and displaced Mane from the driver's seat and took control.
    So, eventually many aspects may have to be corrected on a long term basis.

    pk

    8 years ago

    we have salman khan driving and killing innocents, now roaming free on rs 750 bail.hible statee was drunk.

    many such cases. what happnes to them? where is the punishment?

    st driver would be mentally in terrible state and sholud get same punishment as salman khan ..if any??!!

    Merchant M S

    8 years ago

    Let all drivers including truck drivers have 6 hours duty per day with 5 days a week duty. Our drivers thirsty, hungry worried neglected driving scrap vehicles having no connectivity no road worthiness is a risk to all those on roads and those in the vehicle itself.

    Dr Vaibhav G Dhoka

    8 years ago

    It is fact that MSRTC is having shortage of drivers and many are made to do double duty i.e without rest.This may be a cause.But MSRTC authorities should look through this angle.

    Jeremy McLeod

    8 years ago

    Did you really have to include the bit about "Black Magic?" It's not like there isn't already enough superstition in the public space without journalists adding to it.

    REPLY

    Merchant M S

    In Reply to Jeremy McLeod 8 years ago

    Black Magic does it exit?

    Cold and chilly weather: Blame it on global warming

    With much attention on the effects of global warming on the climate system, the recent severe winter weather has heightened global warming scepticism among the general public. Analysis of the most recent observational and modelling data supports links between strong regional cooling trends in the winter and warming trends in the prior seasons

    Mumbai and several parts of the country are reeling under the cold and chilly weather. Some think it is the extended winter. However, the sudden drops in minimum temperatures (between 2°C to 4°C) at many places are not because of just random variations, but in fact are side effects of the global warming phenomenon. According to researchers and scientists, the global warming might be causing more cooling and snow in many parts of the world.

    In an article published in Environmental Research Letters, a team led by Judah L Cohen of Atmospheric and Environmental Research (http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/7/1/014007), wrote that, “Evidence suggests that summer and autumn warming trends are concurrent with increases in high-latitude moisture and an increase in Eurasian snow cover. And that dynamically induces large-scale wintertime cooling.”

    Rajan Alexander, who keeps a track of various things through his blog, reported that earlier this week, the Sahara desert witnessed snowfall. A 24-hour cold spell brought snow and rain to the Bechar province in western Algeria. Bechar is located in the northern Sahara, about 36 miles south of the Moroccan border. Similarly, the Gulf countries are facing extreme cold waves, Mr Alexander wrote. According to the National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology (NCMS) forecast for Tuesday, minimum temperatures were set to dip to 0°C in the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) mountainous regions while internal areas could see temperatures dipping to a nippy 5°C and coastal areas could see minimum temperatures of 13°C.

    Back home, Leh in the Ladakh region recorded its coldest night at minus 21.8°C of the season with Kargil recording a minus 21°C was the second coldest place in India on Tuesday. The harsh cold weather, on 17 January 2012, broke records in many places, with Madikeri (Karnataka) registering its lowest in 132 years at 4.8 degrees Celsius, Mysore’s coldest day in 120 years was at 7.7 degrees Celsius and Bangalore’s coldest day of January in the past 19 years with minimum temperature dropping to 12 degrees Celsius.

    Many climatologists believe that the Arctic Oscillation (AO) affects the probability of certain weather events occurring in certain places. However, the heightened chance of a phenomenon by no means assures it, nor does the lessened likelihood exclude it. When the AO index is positive, surface pressure is low in the polar region. This helps the middle latitude jet stream to blow strongly and consistently from west to east, thus keeping cold Arctic air locked in the polar region. When the AO index is negative, there tends to be high pressure in the polar region, weaker zonal winds, and greater movement of frigid polar air into middle latitudes.

    The AO fluctuates stochastically between negative and positive values on daily, monthly, seasonal and annual time scales and despite its stochastic nature, meteorologists have attained high levels of predictive accuracy in recent times, at least for the shorter term forecasts.

    While the AO may not have much effect on Indian-sub continent, it’s the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), which may have some co-relation with Indian monsoon. A study, “Interannual and long-term variability in the North Atlantic Oscillation and Indian summer monsoon rainfall” was done by Dugam, Kakade and Verma of the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=2068184) to investigate the co-relation based on data of over 108 years.

    The study found that: “The decadal scale analysis reveals that the NAO during winter (December-January-February) and spring (March-April-May) has a statistically significant inverse relationship with the summer monsoon rainfall of Northwest India, Peninsular India and the whole of India. The highest correlation is observed with the winter NAO. The NAO and Northwest India rainfall relationship is stronger than that for the Peninsular and whole of India rainfall on climatological and sub-climatological scales.”

    In short, fluctuations in the AO and NAO caused due to global warming can be blamed for the cold, chilly and extended winter across the globe. According to the article published in the Environmental Research Letters, the Arctic is warming more strongly than other parts of the globe and also sees more sea ice melt all the way into late summer and early fall.

    It said, “The warmer conditions over open Arctic waters (remember, dark waters absorb heat from sunlight while light-coloured ice reflects it) lead to higher moisture levels in the air. More moisture means more clouds that can bring on more precipitation. Over Siberia, where it’s still cold enough for snow instead of rain, those additional clouds and moisture mean more snow than normal, especially in the fall.”

    “Increased autumn snow cover in Siberia can help bring on the winter phase of what’s called the AO, a variation in surface atmospheric pressure patterns. That can affect the jet stream and other prevailing wind patterns, bringing blasts of Arctic air deep into lower latitudes, especially in the eastern United States, southern Canada and northern Eurasia,” the article added.

    Here is the anomaly in temperatures provided by WXMaps.org and published by Steven Goddard in his blog real-science.com. The graph and pattern shows all heat trapped is causing temperatures 10°C below normal across the northern hemisphere.


    So what is in store for India in next week? According to WXMaps.org report, the temperatures may go back to their normal averages at most places. However, places like northern India and south India would continue to see temperatures 2°C to 6°C below their normal range during this season. Some parts in central India is likely to be little warmer. See the image below…



    1. Rajan Alexander from http://devconsultancygroup.blogspot.com/
    2. http://www.real-science.com/
    3. http://wxmaps.org
    4. http://www.aer.com/
     

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    COMMENTS

    Rajan Alexander

    8 years ago

    Your comment: "In our own Mumbai, we are warned that our beaches will disappear by 2018, by no less an authority than the BMC Chief Hydraulic Year five years back."

    Then BMC are totally misinformed. In fact the Envisat data suggests the reverse - since 2009, they are in fact slightly receding.

    Dr. Nils-Axel Morner is one of the best authorities on global sea level rises, having spent more than 40 years on the subject. He was in fact in Mumbai 4 months ago for an International Workshop on Climate Change which we organized in collaboration with Mumbai University. Morner debunks this wrong notion of sea level rises to ignorance.

    Pls read:

    SPECTATOR: Rising credulity. The truth about sea levels? They’re always fluctuating

    http://devconsultancygroup.blogspot.com/...

    Apart from this post, our blog has several posts on this subject at various points of time!

    Nagesh Kini FCA

    8 years ago

    Despite all the warnings of warmings, coolings, floods, droughts, tsunamis, cyclones, rising sea levels mankind continues to fiddle with what exists for the millenia.
    In our own Mumbai, we are warned that our beaches will disappear by 2018, by no less an authority than the BMC Chief Hydraulic Year five years back.
    The Bandra Reclaimation and the Sea Link that followed have messed up the whole Bandra-Mahim-Shivaji Park-Worli horseshoe. The remedy of amassing the entire beach with geo-thermal fabric and massive black boulders has not saved the Mayor's Bungalow.
    For God's sake and for the sake of the generations to come please don't interfere with Nature. You are trustees for the future generations.
    Your days are numbered! Don't number theirs!

    harbinger

    8 years ago

    However, the sudden drops in minimum temperatures (between 2°C to 4°C) at many places are not because of just random variations, but in fact are side effects of the global warming phenomenon.

    Right! How many more twists and turns will these advocate scientists make in attempts to prove their failing theory. The globe is not getting warmer and hasn't done for 15 years. The AO is an 80 year cycle. Climate has been warmer, it has been colder, it happens.

    Rajan Alexander

    8 years ago

    The article quotes Judah Cohen, who attain some sort of cult status in predicting winter through the Arctic Oscillation (AO). The fact is, this winter, Cohen met his match - he was unable to predict the AO behaviour. But still he has a good track record.

    So what did your article quote him?

    "that summer and autumn warming trends are concurrent with increases in high-latitude moisture and an increase in Eurasian snow cover. And that dynamically induces large-scale wintertime cooling.”"

    So what happens when there is winter cooling that reduces moisture that reflects itself below normal summer and autumn? Global warming. That's right. The collorary must also apply.

    Just as daylight is followed by night, night must be followed by daylight. That's the complete cycle.

    This is why we have summers and winters. It is the heating of the land masses that draws moisture as SW monsoons from the relatively cooler Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal. NE Monsoon is just the opposite.

    The headline of your article misleads to portray warming leads to cooling. That's just part of the cycle you are describing. You need to describe the entire cycle. You make it sound that global warming is omnipotent. If you are unable to explain any phenomenon, then simply blame it on global warming. There is apparently nothing global warming can't do!











    Fitzcarraldo

    8 years ago

    Trouble is that the mean global temperature is now well below normal so there is no current global warming therefore the AGW theory cannot be causing the cold in INDIA as stated above see
    AMSU satellite temperatures
    http://discover.itsc.uah.edu/amsutemps/ press on 400 and 600mb and compare with all past recorded temperatures we are in RECORD COLD

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