Soon, the country will have a system to forecast the extent of rainfall a month in advance, similar to ones in the US, Europe and Japan.
An 18-member team from six institutes led by the Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi (IIT-D) has developed a forecast system to predict monthly and seasonal average rainfall between June and September a month in advance over 34 meteorological subdivisions of India.
At present, the India Meteorological Department provides short to medium range forecast for two days up to a week.
The new forecast mechanism has been developed using eight global climate models comprising atmospheric and ocean circulation and temperature exchanges to arrive at a real-time extended range forecast system.
The system is important in India that has an erratic monsoon, which affects agriculture, water resources, transportation, health, power and subsequently the livelihood of people.
“The forecast system can predict whether rainfall over meteorological subdivisions will be deficient, normal, below normal or above normal. This will help in climate risk management in agriculture as well as water management,” said professor UC Mohanty at the Centre of Atmospheric Sciences, IIT-Delhi, and lead project investigator.
The study is published in the latest issue of Current Science by the Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore.
The accuracy of the new forecast mechanism has been evaluated against rainfall figures recorded by the IMD for the previous monsoon seasons with good success. For instance, the extended range predictions showed 100% accuracy for seasonal rainfall last year.
From June 2013, the IMD will provide both weekly and monthly forecast to all its 130 agromet field units across the country.
“Agricultural scientists can translate information into actionable advisory that is important in day-to-day agriculture operations, especially during the time of sowing,” said KK Singh, scientist, IMD.