IMD ill-equipped to gauge oceanic phenomena: EarthSciences Secretary

The India Meteorological Department’s climate forecast system was ill-equipped to gauge crucial oceanic phenomena, as a result of which it had to revise its prediction for rainfall from the Southwest monsoon from “above normal” to “normal”, a top official said.

The IMD will now make necessary amendments to its existing climate models for better prediction in the future, M. Rajeevan, Secretary, the Ministry of Earth Sciences, said.

The Met Office, at present, uses the National Centres for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) Climate Forecast System Version 2 (CFSv2), procured from the U.S., to understand oceanic patterns. The system was modified to suit the IMD’S requirements.

As per IMD’s initial forecast, rainfall from the Southwest monsoon was expected to be “above normal”. September was expected to receive “excess” rainfall, but that did not happen.

This was primarily due to La Nina, an oceanic phenomenon linked to cooling of Pacific waters resulting in better monsoon in the Indian subcontinent. The IMD had expected a “full-blown” La Nina, which did not occur.

Another phenomenon that occurred was a negative Indian Ocean Dipole, also known as Indian El Nino and associated with warming of Indian Ocean waters. A negative IOD also has a bad impact on the monsoon.

“In La Nina, we would have got more rain. But, in between, Indian Ocean warmed up. The Indian Ocean Dipole was negative. So that was not well anticipated by the model. The model has problem and it is not good in predicting changes in the Indian Ocean.






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