Data assembling, seasonal forecast and climate projections

This module provides seasonal meteorological predictions and makes it possible to better predict the nature, onset and withdrawal of recurring weather phenomena such as the monsoon and El Niño and associated extreme events. In addition, trends caused by anthropogenic climate change are broken down into regional scenarios.


Phase 2: B-EPICC (2022-2023)

El Niño and La Niña episodes can cause extreme weather events like floods and droughts in Peru, Brazil, Ethiopia and other parts of the world. Our aim is to provide an automated algorithm for the forecasting of El Niño events with a pre-warning time of about one year. We also aim to develop and provide new long-term forecasts of El Niño events, including their onset, magnitude and type. Our research framework is based on complexity science and network theory.

Phase 1: EPICC (2018-2021) - Achievements

Onset Forecasting
Algorithm-based forecasting, regularly predicting El Niño events accurately in partner countries.
See, e.g.: Unprecedented warning of El Niño succeeds

Magnitude Forecasting
Improved forecasting for El Niño magnitude, leading, for instance, to a forecast for 2018-2019 of an El Niño with a magnitude of 1.11 ± 0.23 ℃, which turned out to be correct with the observed value being 0.9°C.
See, e.g.: Complexity-based approach for El Niño magnitude forecasting before the spring predictability barrier

Indian Summer Monsoon Rainfall Forecasting
Based on the complex network approach and the ENSO-monsoon teleconnections, the South-West Atlantic Subtropical Index (SWAS-index) was developed to forecast the amount of the Indian summer monsoon rainfall with a 5-month lead-time and a forecasting skill (correlation between forecasted and observed value) of 0.54. Remarkably, it was discovered, that the significant warming trend in the SWAS area yields to an improvement of the prediction skill.
See, e.g.: Network-Based Approach and Climate Change Benefits for Forecasting the Amount of Indian Monsoon Rainfall

A full list of outputs from the project’s El Niño forecasting portfolio is available here.

Contact Person

Dr. Josef Ludescher

El Niño Forecasting



Prior knowledge of the date of monsoon onset is of vital importance in India. More lead time for monsoon forecasts is crucial for planning agriculture, water and energy resources management. The B-EPICC project aims to provide Indian population with a long-term forecast of the onset and withdrawal of the Indian Summer Monsoon (the Southwest Monsoon) for the central part of India. The long-term forecast means 40 days in advance for the onset date, and 70 days in advance for the withdrawal date. Our earliest forecast will be spread over India for taking appropriate decisions at various levels from farmers' fields to the Government of India.

The forecasting methodology for predicting the onset and withdrawal of the Indian Summer Monsoon was upscaled to predict timing of the rainfall season in southern Tanzania, Msimu rains. A study on rainfall season in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania - the grain basket of Tanzania, is part of the B-EPICC project. Tanzania's economy depends heavily on agriculture, and the livelihood of the Tanzanian farmer largely depends on the rains. The B-EPICC monsoon research group offers a unique methodology to identify tipping elements in climate variables, which allows a long-term prediction of the rainy season's timing. A long-term forecast means 40 days in advance for the start of the rainy season and 70 days in advance for its end. Such long-term forecasts aid agriculture planning in consolidating resources and strengthening capacity to respond effectively to disasters such as floods and droughts. This novel approach is welcomed by local ministries and stakeholders in anticipation of using the forecast for better risk management. 

Related information

Indian Summer Monsoon Forecasts, 2020

Withdrawal of the Indian Summer Monsoon 2020

On the 14th of August 2020, Prof. Dr. Surovyatkina published a forecast of the withdrawal date of the Indian Summer Monsoon 2020 from the central part of India. According to the forecast, the Indian Summer Monsoon (Southwest Monsoon) was likely to withdraw from the Central part of India (20N, 80E) between 3rd and 13th of October 2020. The actual withdrawal date was announced as the 13th of October, after which other post-monsoon isolated rainfalls appeared in some parts of central & northwest India.

Onset of the Indian Summer Monsoon 2020

The May 8 forecast released by EPICC Monsoon researcher Prof. Dr. Surovyatkina, announced the onset of the Indian Summer Monsoon in 2020 for the central part of India, the Eastern Ghats region (20°N,80°E) between the 18th and 26th of June 2020. The Summer Monsoon in Northern Telangana was predicted to set over between 16th and 24th of June 2020. The research group predicted delayed Monsoon onset and indeed the Northern Limit of Monsoon declared by IMD appeared over Eastern Ghats on 12th of June and resulted in rainfall in many regions in central India, however from 17-26 June, a dry spell appeared unexpectedly. The Monsoon rainfall in fact began over the Eastern Ghats on the 26 of June, confirming that the prediction of delayed Monsoon onset dates between 18th and 26th of June 2020 published by Prof. Dr. Surovyatkina was correct.

Prediction of Rainfall Season in Tanzania, 2020

Elena Surovyatkina and Nitin Babu performed the first long-term forecast for Africa on the 20th of October, 40 days in advance of the rainfall season. They predicted that the rainfall season in southern Tanzania was likely begin after the 10 of December 2020. Isolated rainfall and dry spells were expected between the 10th to the 31st of December. The actual rainfall season in southern Tanzania was delayed and began after the 10th of December 2020; continuous rainfalls were expected after the 31st of December. On the initial phase, isolated rains alternated with periods of dry spells, as was predicted on the 20th of October, 2020.

Contact Person

Prof. Dr. Elena Surovyatkina

Monsoon Forecasting


Scientific Advisors

Prof. Dr. Stefan Rahmstorf
Climate Change

Prof. Dr. Jürgen Kurths
Complex Systems Science

Dr. Peter Hoffmann
Regional Climate Forecasting