AOES Scientists Tackle Indian Monsoon Prediction


In an unprecedented collaboration involving research labs in several nations, AOES scientists are helping the Government of India accelerate progress in predicting the south Asian monsoon.

The monsoon is a seasonal shift of the climate that brings a tremendous amount of rain to India and surrounding countries in south Asia. That rainfall is essential to the livelihood, even survival, of hundreds of millions of people, and prediction of the Indian monsoon rainfall is critical for planning and risk mitigation across the sub-continent. Even a 10% departure from the anticipated normal rainfall can mean economic ruin or loss of life.

The Indian Ministry of Earth Sciences launched a major initiative in 2013, called the National Monsoon Mission, in which it enlisted the collaboration of research groups in Indian government labs, universities and labs and universities in the U.S. and other countries. The Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies (COLA) in AOES is one of those U.S. labs making critical contributions to monsoon prediction capability. Under the overall direction of Prof. Jim Kinter, the project involves Profs. Paul Dirmeyer, Bohua Huang and Ed Schneider, each directing one aspect of the project, and three post-doctoral scientists: Drs. Rodrigo Bombardi, Subhadeep Halder and Chul-Su Shin, as well as several Ph.D. students in the Climate Dynamics program.

The three-year project is expected to radically improve the practice of monsoon prediction based on computer models of Earth's climate and directly impact the well-being of over a billion people.

Image credits:; Shukla and Kinter (2014, Clim. Dyn.), Fig. 17, summer rainfall anomaly from "pacemaker" experiment.