Science

Scientists develop new way to predict Indian monsoon

21 Apr 2016 | By Gaurav
Predicting the monsoons

Researchers at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) in Germany have claimed to have developed a new way to predict the Indian monsoons.

Scientists said the new model predicts the monsoons significantly earlier than previously possible.

The researchers plan to propose this approach to the Indian Meteorological Department.

Researchers called it a breakthrough that may help maximise the subcontinent's food supplies.

In context: Predicting the monsoons

The MonsoonWhat is the monsoon?

India gets its monsoons from the southwest monsoon winds.

The southwestern summer monsoons occur from July through September as the Thar Desert and adjoining areas of the northern and central Indian subcontinent heats up.

This causes a low pressure area over the northern and central Indian subcontinent, which draws moisture laden winds from the Indian Ocean to the Himalayas, bringing with them, the monsoon.

Need What is the need for accurately predicting monsoons?

The monsoon forms a critical part of India's agricultural output.

Information about monsoon timing is key for Indian farmers to determine when to carry out the sowing.

Crops like rice, soybean and cotton are heavily dependent on the timeliness of the monsoons.

Even a slight deviation of the monsoon can lead to droughts or floods causing severe damage.

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Monsoons decide power output

Monsoons play a crucial role in determining electricity generation because the length of the monsoon would determine the water leves in hydro-power dams, allowing officials to regulate the output of power.

21 Apr 2016Scientists develop new way to predict Indian monsoon

What is PIK?

The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research is a German think-tank that uses systems and scenarios analysis, modelling, computer simulation, and data integration to addresses crucial scientific questions in the fields of climate change and sustainable development.
How does the system work?

The MethodHow does the system work?

According to officials, the method is based on a network analysis of regional weather data.

Scientists found that in North Pakistan and the Eastern Ghats, changes of temperatures and humidity mark a critical transition to the monsoon.

After testing their method with historical monsoon data, researchers said they achieved 75% correct predictions both at normal times, and in El Nino years as well.

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Can predict season 6 weeks in advance

"We can predict the beginning of the Indian monsoon two weeks earlier, and the end of it even six weeks earlier than before - which is quite a breakthrough, given that for the farmers every day counts." - Veronika Stolbova, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), Germany.