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India tasked with coordinating global monsoon research

In addition to the monsoons research, other responsibilities that the IMPO will have include bringing collaboration between different monsoon groups pursuing sub-seasonal to seasonal prediction outputs; support seminars, workshops, training and events along with carrying out outreach and capacity building among others.

Written by Anjali Marar | Pune |
Updated: August 16, 2021 10:59:50 pm
Waterlogging after heavy rain in Pune

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has entrusted India with coordinating the global research on monsoons. A dedicated office in this regard, International Monsoons Project Office (IMPO), was established recently at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune.

Since 2012, this Pune-based institute, operating under the Ministry of Earth Sciences, has been leading India’s Monsoon Mission, of which the second phase is nearing completion. Integrating its own experience with Climate and Ocean: Variability, Predictability and Change (CLIVAR) — one of the core projects of WMO’s World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) — this office would help channelise and carry out more focused research on monsoons across the world, officials said.

“The monsoons have been a major challenge for meteorologists. If they are not represented correctly, the weather models will have problems in their results in other regions too. So, research on monsoons is a scientific requirement. We hope to motivate other countries, affected by monsoons, to emulate such an approach and help bring more resources to the international monsoon community,” said Rupa Kumar Kohli, head, IMPO.

On the significance of the international office being established in India, the former WMO scientist said, “The Monsoon Mission is unique. India definitely holds a tremendous potential to become a leader (in the field). Over a period of time, we could assume international leadership in monsoon research. The office will also be a facilitator for our scientists to interact with international experts.”

In addition to monsoon research, other responsibilities that the IMPO will have include bringing collaboration between different monsoon groups pursuing sub-seasonal to seasonal prediction outputs, supporting seminars, workshops, training and events besides carrying out outreach and capacity building exercises among others.

Among its first tasks, the IMPO is coordinating an online training workshop for operational meteorologists in November.

“There are several countries where the skills and expertise among operational meteorologists are limited and there is difficulty in using the existing tools while making monsoon forecasts,” said Kohli.

The WCRP is also mooting a plan to establish Climate Research Fora on regional levels across the world. South Asia, Kohli said, will be a forum and its areas of research and activities are presently in their preliminary stages of planning.

The WMO will guide IMPO with resource allocation, facilitate interactions with other scientific working groups on monsoons and provide expertise on research activities.

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