India-USA: agreement on Monsoon Data Analysis

India and USA signed an agreement on Monsoon Data Analysis and cooperation in order to improve weather forecasts.

Highlights

  • MoU was signed by Ambassador of India to the US, Taranjit Singh Sandhu and Assistant Secretary of Commerce and Acting Administrator of NOAA, Dr Neil A Jacobs.
  • The agreement seeks to improve weather forecasting in Indian region.
  • Under the agreement, scientific groups from India and the US have decided to put their expertise together.
  • Both the countries seek to gain some new understanding on monsoon by collecting data and analyze it.
  • Under it, both the countries would enhance technical cooperation in development of the Research Moored Array for African-Asian-Australian Monsoon Analysis and Prediction (RAMA) as well as the Ocean Moored buoy Network in northern Indian ocean (OMNI) in order to improve weather and monsoon forecasts between NOAA and Ministry of Earth Sciences, India.

Background

This agreement is a follow-up of the memorandum of understanding signed between Ministry of Earth Sciences and NOAA in October 2020 for Technical Cooperation in Earth Observations and Earth Sciences.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

NOAA is an American scientific and regulatory agency under the United States Department of Commerce. It forecasts weather, monitors oceanic and atmospheric conditions. It charts the seas, manages fishing & protection of marine mammals, conducts deep sea exploration in the U.S. exclusive economic zone.

Monsoon Prediction in India

When there were no computers, Indian meteorological department (IMD) used to forecast monsoon based on the snow cover. Lesser snow cover meant better monsoon. British physicist Gilbert Walker, head of the IMD, designed a statistical weather model to predict weather on the basis of relationship between two weather phenomena. IMD started using numerical models in 2014 to supplement statistical models to forecast over long range. Now, IMD uses numerical models, developed by the US National Centres for Environmental Prediction. However, their forecast capacity is still weak as a longer period of forecast creates more uncertainty in prediction. IMD provides district-wise weather data but it’s not sufficient. This is because when IMD forecasts for scattered rainfall over a particular district, it means that 26-50% area of that district will receive rainfall.

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