Forecast of withdrawal of Indian Summer Monsoon proves once more successful

24/10/2018 - The Indian Summer Monsoon has withdrawn from the Central part of India last week as predicted by PIK scientist Elena Surovyatkina and her team 80 days in advance. It is the earliest forecast of the withdrawal date ever made and currently the only one available in India. Since 2016, all PIK predictions of the monsoon onset and withdrawal have been successful, that´s six correct forecasts in three years in a row.
Forecast of withdrawal of Indian Summer Monsoon proves once more successful
A flooded farm in Pathanamthitta, Kerala, India. Kerala was badly affected by the floods during the monsoon season this year. (Photo: iStock, ajijchan)

The heavy summer rains are very important for millions of Indian farmers feeding the subcontinent’s population. Future climate change will likely affect monsoon stability and hence makes accurate forecasting even more relevant. Surovyatkina and her team at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research have developed a novel approach, using analysis of spatial organized critical phenomena, an advanced mathematical approach, combined with statistical data of interannual variability in monsoon onset and withdrawal dates.

This year, heavy rainfall and wind warnings continued until 14th of October and isolated rains in Central part of India lasted until October 18th. According to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), the Southwest Monsoon withdrew from the entire country October 21. Thus, the original prediction (“October 18 +/- 5 days”) for this rather late withdrawal of the Indian Summer Monsoon was correct.The Indian Meteorological Department and the meteorological community have acknowledged the new approach, Elena Surovyatkina has become a member of the Indian Meteorological Society.

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