India, US ink pact for better monsoon forecast

Under the pact, signed on the sidelines of the visit of US President Barack Obama, scientists at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) will be able to use the Model Climate Forecast System 2.0 of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for monsoon prediction.

The agreement provides for setting up of a 'monsoon desk' in NOAA under which one scientist at the American organisation would be exclusively earmarked for consultations with his Indian counterpart.

"We will start using the model on an experimental basis from next year to predict the Indian monsoon," Earth Sciences Secretary Shailesh Nayak told PTI.

The Implementing Agreement for Technical Cooperation for the Study of Dynamical Seasonal Prediction of Indian Summer Monsoon Rainfall was inked by Nayak and NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco.

India had earlier this year announced the 'Monsoon Mission' to sharpen monsoon forecasts and for carrying out focused research across organisations to develop indigenous prediction models.

The pact with the US will deliver a useful coupled ocean-atmospheric general circulation model to predict the summer monsoon rainfall and is also expected to enhance the understanding of the system over India.

"We will have to fine-tune the system to our requirements," Nayak said. The 'Monsoon Desk' will help coordinate all activities for India's monsoon related work, including numerical model simulations and diagnostics between National Centres for Environment Prediction and NOAA, Nayak said.

The cooperation is expected to give a boost to agromet services of the India Meteorological Department and also help scientists formulate their weekly predictions and medium term forecast of the rainfall season.

The NOAA system is expected to help scientists predict sudden breaks in monsoon cycle fairly accurately and also enable more short-term and localised predictions, such as district level predictions.

IITM will set up a forecast system which will have the oceanic atmospheric model and other data and work closely with other centres of weather forecasts such as the National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting as well as IMD which will use the data as it is the operational organisation.

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