Monsoon Mission on track, 18 proposals in, 2 models in focus

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SummaryThe much-awaited Monsoon Mission — aimed at improving monsoon forecast in India — has seen 18 proposals coming in from the country and abroad.

The much-awaited Monsoon Mission — aimed at improving monsoon forecast in India — has seen 18 proposals coming in from the country and abroad.

“The mission is on track, a good sign,” said M Rajeevan, monsoon expert and head of the mission associated with the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES).

As part of the programme, India Meteorological Department (IMD) will collaborate with weather research organisations, nationally as well as internationally, to improve monsoon forecast.

“We are getting a good response and have had eight from abroad and 10 from India,” said Rajeevan.

The mission got an additional push when an MoU was signed with the National Environment Research Council (NERC) and two meetings were held in New Delhi.

“It was a collaborative workshop with UK and Indian scientists exchanging notes. We had almost 20 participants from UK and 40-45 from India to discuss strategies,” he said, adding they have identified four to five focus areas such as land atmosphere, ocean-atmosphere coupling, aerosol, besides calling research proposals from both India and UK. “This is UK’s first active participation,” he said.

The Monsoon Mission will concentrate on two global dynamic models — the climate forecast system model developed in the US and the unified model developed by the UK Met Office. “The thrust will be to improve them further,” said another official from MoES.

The mission’s focus is on developing a dynamic model for monsoon prediction, which will provide monthly forecasts for every state. They have also earmarked Rs 400 crore for the next five years. Thereafter, it will be possible to predict droughts, the official said. The model involves 3D mathematical simulation of the atmosphere and can predict rainfall over smaller spatial and temporal scale, which is not possible with the Statistical Forecasting system that IMD uses.

Under the project, Pune-based Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology will work on improving long-range and seasonal scale forecasts, while the National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting in Noida will spearhead efforts to improve medium-range scale forecast (up to 15 days) of rainfall.

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