Leeds' academics part of international team looking at forecasting the monsoon

The £8 million project is aiming to improve understanding of the processes governing the South Asian monsoon rains, and improve predictions.

Government announces new research projects joint funded by UK’s Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), the Indian Ministry of Earth Sciences and the UK Met Office.

The Drivers of Variability in the South Asian Monsoon research programme was publicised by the UK's Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey whilst visiting India with the British Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg.

The monsoon last year caused extensive damage when it arrived earlier than expected damaging crops and causing landslides washing whole communities away.

The programme will observe the Southern Asian monsoon’s using the UK’s BAe-146 atmospheric research aircraft and ocean gliders, and Indian research ships.  ICAS’s John Marsham (water@leeds and NCAS) and Doug Parker are among the team of a 4-year project led jointly by India and the UK.

Dr John Marsham said,

"New modelling tools are providing new opportunities to address the long-standing problem of improving predictions of monsoons. We are very happy to be part of this collaborative project, which should deliver the science required to improve predictions that will benefit people across Asia"

Speaking at St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai as part of a three-day visit to India, Secretary of State Edward Davey said:

“Our countries share a strong and growing relationship at the forefront of science and technology, one that aims to improve lives of people. The monsoon is a hugely important part of peoples’ livelihoods here in India. It is also a very important part of the global climate system. This major new UK - India research initiative on the monsoon is a great example of how UK and India can work together to tackle global challenges.”

Dr Shailesh Nayak, Secretary of the Ministry of Earth Sciences, said:

"I am happy to note that the Indian and UK scientists are collaborating on observational campaigns including the NERC aircraft and modelling efforts to study the complex physical processes of the south Asian monsoon. I am sure this collaboration will facilitate improving the representation of monsoon physical processes in weather and climate models

Ned Garnett, interim head of research at the UK’s Natural Environment Research Council, said:

“We are delighted to be teaming up again with our colleagues at the Ministry of Earth Sciences in India to tackle this important problem.”

“Being able to deliver better predictions of the monsoon will be of huge benefit to the people of South Asia and the regional economy, which is of course an important part of the global economy. This programme will bring together complementary skills of UK and Indian scientists in joint projects to address these global issues.”