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Indian monsoon forecast: early warning for risk of flooding in October

The Indian Summer Monsoon is likely to withdraw from the Central part of India between 14th and 24th October 2019. The unique forecast, made for 70 days in advance, is the only available long-term forecast in India. Elena Surovyatkina, climate scientist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, leads the forecasts that showed to be successful already three years in a row. The monsoon withdrawal date is of crucial importance for billion of people in India. In a warming world, severe storms and floods during monsoon retreat are becoming more frequent. Such a long-term forecast could help Government to do strategic planning, consolidate resources, and strengthen capacity to respond effectively to disasters.
Indian monsoon forecast: early warning for risk of flooding in October

Monsoon in Trivandrum, India (Photo: indiawaterportal.org)

Monsoon heavy rainfalls have triggered flooding in central and northern parts of India, Pakistan Bangladesh and Nepal leaving numerous casualties, tens of thousands displaced and millions affected. National Disaster Response Forces are working around the clock conducting rescue operations, helping children and carrying the elderly out of flooded houses.

The summer monsoon rainfall is the most important source of water in India. About 80 percent of the river flow occurs during the four to five months of the summer monsoon season. India collects and stores rainwater in the system of dams in monsoon seasons to sustain themselves in the dry season. In particular, hydroelectric power plants are driven by water collected during the monsoons. “This is why at the end of monsoon season the main goal is to safe as much water as possible. The release of dam water during that period is sharply criticized, because it’s a waste of the most valuable resource. However, when dams are full and heavy rains come it can triggering dams spilling and floods with catastrophic consequences such as widespread damage and human casualties,” explains Elena Surovyatkina.

“Taking into account very intensive rainfall in August, dams are supposed to be full in September. It is very important to alert the management of the dams that monsoon unlikely stop at the beginning of October in the central part of India. Looking back in 2018, the severe Cyclonic Storm Titli appeared unexpectedly around 11th of October, and it was still rainy until 18th of October. In 2017, monsoon withdrew from the region around 15-16th of October. The withdrawal of monsoon in 2019 is expected on the third week of October. The end of the season is shifted due to very high temperature on the periphery of monsoon in Pakistan and Afghanistan. It takes longer time when the whole continent cools down to the temperature of monsoon withdrawal. I hope this alert in August will be taking into account at carrying out preventive measures in the system of dams in order to prevent its overfilling and floods in October”, said Elena Surovyatkina.


The forecasts for the Indian Summer Monsoon are part of the PIK project EPICCwithin the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment (BMU). More information:

https://www.international-climate-initiative.com/en/nc/details/project/climate-capacity-building-risk-anticipation-and-minimization-18_II_149-3007

For further information please visit PIK’s detailed information page on the Indian Monsoon Forecast:

https://www.pik-potsdam.de/services/infodesk/forecasting-indian-monsoon

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