New monsoon prediction model in pipeline

Namrata Devikar
Monday, 15 January 2018

Model will also be able to suggest crop patterns and predict natural disasters

Pune: Monsoon plays a major role in shaping our economy and thus monsoon prediction needs to be accurate and precise. Hence, as part of its Monsoon Mission Project, the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) has started working on an accurate monsoon forecast model, which not only will give exact predication about rains, but also help in making advisories for crop patterns, water management and disaster warnings.

The Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) launched ‘National Monsoon Mission’ (NMM) in 2013 with a vision to develop a state-of-the-art dynamic prediction system for monsoon rainfall on different time scales. The responsibility for execution and coordination of this mission has been given to IITM, Pune. For this mission, IITM is collaborating with National Centre for Environmental Prediction (NCE, USA), MoES organisations and various academic institutions under NMM.

Speaking about the second phase of the monsoon prediction model, Ravi S Nanjundiah, Director, IITM Pune, said that the second phase of making monsoon prediction has just started and the main focus will be the improvement of the model. “There is more research to be done though work on some part has been completed. Then we were giving emphasis on its application and thus we are now focusing on two of its important aspects, agriculture predictions and water resource management,” said Nanjundiah. 

He added that through agriculture prediction, the model aims to propose crop yield, how pests and diseases can be prevented and river basin run off. “The application of this model will also help in managing reservoirs. We are looking into developing a disaster prediction model so that the model can predict disasters at least five days in advance,” said Nanjundiah.

The predictions will also help to know the likelihood of floods and other natural calamities. Giving an example, he said, “Last year, we were able to predict heavy rainfall in Mumbai. There was a high likelihood that the amount of rainfall would be very high and this was known at least 10 days prior. As the data started to get clear, and before the actual day of rainfall, we could predict how much rain was expected. Similarly, we would be able to predict cyclones at least five days in advance, after which we can tell if there is a need for evacuation at least two days prior to the cyclone hitting.” He also said research students from different universities across the country will help in this phase.

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