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PIK researchers issue new early forecast of Indian Summer Monsoon

05/07/2019 - The Indian Summer Monsoon will likely reach Central India between 10th and 18th of June 2019, according to the new forecast method developed at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). This forecast of the monsoon onset date issued more than one month in advance is the earliest and only one available in India to date. PIK scientist Elena Surovyatkina leads the Monsoon forecasts that showed to be successful already three years in a row. The monsoon onset date is of crucial importance for the 1.35 billion people in India – the livelihoods of about 70 percent of its population are directly related to farming and agriculture. Climate change affects monsoon variability and hence makes accurate forecasting even more important.

There are two major problems caused by monsoon rains. First, although the rainy season happens annually, the time of monsoon season’s onset and withdrawal varies within a month from year to year. Such variability strongly affects agriculture, the management of water resources and food security. Second, with climate change, the intensity of monsoon rainfalls that could lead to floods and disasters is increasing, especially at the beginning of monsoons. The most afflicted region is Central India, which is currently suffering from severe drought before the monsoon starts.

"Since 2016, I issue such a forecast for the central part of India in the area of the Eastern Ghats (EG), namely in the south-eastern part of Maharashtra state, and the western part of Chhattisgarh state and the northern part of Telangana state (the geographical point (20°N, 80°E). This year, I started to test a forecast for Telangana state (17.5°N, 80°E): I estimated the date monsoon onset for Telangana as between 8th and 16th of June," says  Surovyatkina. Even though those two regions are neighbouring, there is a considerable difference in the interplay of two branches of Monsoon (one from the Arabian Sea and another from the Bay of Bengal) in these regions. In some years monsoon onset appears at the same date in two regions, in other years it appears with a difference of 6-10 days. When the monsoon is advancing, pre-monsoon showers are a common phenomenon in Telangana. This is why the forecast for the Telangana region is challenging. However, as Telangana is the 'Seed Bowl' of India, monsoon forecast is vital for the state. The export of seeds can create economic opportunities for small and marginal farmers.

Collaboration with the Indian Meteorological Department

Last week, Indian authorities have hailed as a success its evacuation of more than a million people to safety to avoid the devastating impacts of Cyclone Fani - one of the strongest cyclones to hit India in the last 20 years. The Indian Meteorological Department has improved their early cyclone warning systems significantly, giving authorities more time to evacuate people in affected regions. Thus, early forecast can help saving human lives. “We are collaborating with the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), our forecasts are complementary: the IMD forecasts in the middle of May for Kerala state where the monsoon arrives first, we forecast for Telangana and the Eastern Ghats on the way of advancement of the monsoon, where a forecast is most needed for agriculture. We are working together to improve climate resilience by building new capacities via early forecast of monsoon,” adds Surovyatkina.


The forecasts for the Indian Summer Monsoon are part of the PIK project EPICC within 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 detailled information page on the Indian Monsoon Forecast:
https://www.pik-potsdam.de/services/infodesk/forecasting-indian-monsoon

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For further information please contact the PIK press office:
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E-mail: press@pik-potsdam.de

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