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Drivers of Variability in the South Asian Monsoon

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This programme aims to improve understanding of the variability of the South Asian monsoon. The focus is on developing a better understanding of processes driving variability, seasonality and predictability in the South Asian monsoon, with the goal of improving predictions on all timescales. This programme is a partnership with the Ministry of Earth Science (MoES) in India and will allow UK researchers to collaborate with Indian scientists to research the links between small-scale processes and larger-scale monsoon variability. NERC will fund the UK contribution to the programme and MoES the Indian contribution.

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The South Asian summer monsoon provides 80 per cent of annual precipitation to around a billion people. Agriculture, which is the main occupation in the region, depends heavily on the monsoon rains and their timing.

Accurate prediction of monsoon rainfall and meteorology is therefore an important societal challenge. It must be effective at many timescales, from daily weather forecasting up to multidecadal changes.

There is much research in progress on monsoon modelling and prediction, but a key gap (and opportunity) lies in better measurement and understanding of processes operating at small space and timescales; for example interactions between the land surface and atmosphere; boundary layer processes; aerosol processes, dynamics of mesoscale convective systems and cloud microphysics; and how such processes affect larger-scale variability and teleconnections.

This programme aims to provide an opportunity for UK scientists to form substantial collaborations with Indian colleagues aimed at understanding the links between small-scale processes and larger-scale monsoon variability. The understanding developed through this work will be applied to develop improved parametrisations and data assimilation methods for predictive models.

The programme aims to bring together intensive field observations (possibly including deployment of airborne research platforms), high-resolution modelling and data assimilation with analysis of current and historical observations from ground-based observing sites.

In this programme there will be a specific focus on better characterisation of monsoon variability at small space (kilometres) and time (hours to days) scales; how these scales interact with larger-scale variations; and the opportunities this characterisation generates for improved predictability.

The detailed research requirements for this programme will be finalised and released following a workshop, and will then be made available on the NERC website.

Timing

2013 - 2017

Can I apply for a grant?

No. The closing date for this project was October 2013.

Budget

This programme has a budget of £3m from NERC.