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Government of India
Ministry of Earth Science
08-June-2016 11:52 IST
Observational Campaign to study Small-Scale Processes and Large-Scale Monsoon Variability under a Joint Indo-UK Effort

Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) launched the National Monsoon Mission program in 2012 with an aim to improve monsoon prediction at all temporal and spatial scales through joint efforts of national and international scientific communities. Although there has been considerable progress in research in monsoon modelling and predictions, however processes operating at small scales pose a major challenge towards improved prediction. Paucity of data at smaller space and time scales, have a major effect on the large-scale variability of the monsoon. Improved understanding of the smaller scale physical processes will help in improving the computer simulation models, parameterization of physical process, which in turn will produce improved monsoon prediction.

To address the issue of better understanding of processes that drive the variability, and predictability of the South Asian Monsoon, India and United Kingdom have embarked on an ambitious plan to carry out a large-scale joint observational campaign involving the deployment of UK’s BAe-146-301 atmospheric research aircraft with sophisticated scientific instruments and India’s Sagar Nidhi and Sindhu Sadhna research ships during the period May-July 2016. The UK’s instrumented aircraft is a special aircraft which can fly at a very low-level for taking the observations. The aircraft observations will be augmented by special observational programs over the land using boundary layer flux towers, radars, Microwave Radiometers etc.

This joint effort is part of the implementation agreement signed between MoES and Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), UK on “Predicting the Variability of the South Asian Monsoon” under the existing MoU between MoES and UK on Collaboration in Earth System Science. Three research projects involving the Indian and UK scientists will study different aspects of physical processes affecting the monsoon.

The project “South West Asian Aerosol - Monsoon Interactions (SWAAMI)”, involves measurements of aerosols across northern India and the Bay of Bengal during the pre-monsoon which will then be synthesized with long term measurements from ground based networks and data from previous intensive campaigns. The study is expected to characterize the mechanisms by which aerosols influence the Indian monsoon. The project “Interaction of Convective Organization and Monsoon Precipitation, Atmosphere, Surface and Sea (INCOMPASS) aims to capture the key surface-atmosphere feedback processes in models. The study will improve the skill of rainfall prediction in operational weather and climate models by way of better understanding and representation of interactions between the land surface, boundary layer, convection, the large-scale environment and monsoon variability on a range of scales. The aim of “BoBBLE: Bay of Bengal Boundary Layer Experiment” is to determine, quantify and model ocean-atmosphere interactions that drive variability in the South Asian monsoon. Under this project, an observational campaign will be undertaken in the Bay of Bengal during June-July 2016 along with the analysis of wider observational and reanalysis-based data sets, and a set of hierarchical modelling experiments. The study will improve the understanding about the role of thermodynamic surface and mixed layer processes in the monsoon as well as the role of large-scale ocean structure, ocean dynamics and ocean biogeochemistry in the monsoon.

The observational campaign will start on 8th June 2016 and will last till end of July. The cost of this important observational campaign is approximately Rs 50.00 crore which is shared between MoES from the Indian side and NERC and the UK Met Office from the UK side.

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