US, India to collaborate to improve monsoon forecasts

India experiences monsoon weather, typically resulting in six months of rain beginning in early June.

Updated: Nov 13, 2010, 09:47 AM IST

Washington: India and US are joining hands to improve India`s forecast of the monsoon season, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has said.

The agreement is part of a series of food security agreements formalised this week during the India visit of the US President, Barack Obama.

"The Monsoon Agreement, by striving to improve long-range monsoon prediction, holds great potential to improve the well-being of the people of India, while also benefiting the United States and other nations through improvements in their own seasonal climate forecasts," Jane Lubchenco, Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA administrator said yesterday.

Lubchenco said NOAA looks forward to this new relationship with the Ministry of Earth Sciences for the mutual benefit of the two nations.

India experiences monsoon weather, typically resulting in six months of rain beginning in early June. But it is difficult to predict when monsoon will begin, how strong it will be or when it will end -information that can help plan for seasonal crops and project surface water supplies, NOAA said.

"In addition to the regional impacts, the Indian Ocean-Asia monsoon system represents one of the largest weather and climate features in the world, transporting energy between the northern and southern hemispheres and impacting weather and climate throughout the world," it said.

Under the agreement, the US will create a monsoon forecast desk at the national Centers for Environmental Prediction, part of NOAA`s National Weather Service in Camp Springs, Maryland.

Visiting atmospheric scientists from India`s Ministry of Earth Sciences will collaborate with NOAA scientists to share knowledge and skills to improve the Climate Forecast System (CFS) for long-range forecasts of the monsoon.

The CFS is the backbone of seasonal climate forecasts in the US and under the agreement, the US will also provide the CFS to India and provide technical training to visiting scientists so that they can implement it in their own country.

Collaboration will also focus on the Global Forecast System for improving short-range monsoon forecasts in the Southwest United States.