Science Circle Lecture - "Monsoon Forecast under Climate Change"

© DWIH New Delhi

Event Information

October 16, 2018

New Delhi
Organizer(s): DWIH - German Centre for Research and Innovation New Delhi, German Embassy

The variability of Indian monsoon implies two aspects wherein firstly, the monsoon season doesn’t begin on any fixed date but is only determined by observations and secondly, monsoon begins on different dates in different parts of the country. These features thus make monsoon forecast extremely challenging in India. Additionally, even a two-week delay in monsoon can spell disaster on India’s GDP, particularly in a situation where the country’s 70% population is directly related to farming – which in turn is dependent on monsoons. Moreover, the forecasting of climate phenomena on a seasonal scale is even more challenging due to the absence of any recent historical precedent for changes in the climate system.

Thus, in order to overcome this challenge, Prof Surovyatkina proposes a new methodology for monsoon forecasting. This approach is based on a newly discovered feature of Indian summer monsoon wherein two geographic regions in the areas of the Eastern Ghats (EG) and North Pakistan (NP) act as tipping elements, which play a crucial role in the spatial organization of Monsoon. Observations of the near-surface air temperature and relative humidity in these areas allow forecasting of the monsoon onset and withdrawal dates for 40 and 70 days in advance respectively.

Moreover, the results show that the method used in this study allows predicting the monsoon retrospectively (over the period 1951-2015), as well as for the future. Also, successful predictions for 2016, 2017 and 2018 have validated the accuracy of the study and proved that such early predictions of monsoon timings are possible even under the conditions of climate change. Further, what is important to note is that the forecast of monsoon onset date through this study is the earliest, whereas the withdrawal date is the only one available in India.


Time Programme
17:00 h – 17:30 h Registrations
17:30 h – 17:45 h Welcome Addresses
17:45 h – 18:45 h Talks on “Monsoon Forecast under Climate Change” by Prof Dr Elena Surovyatkina
18:45 h – 19:00 h Q&A Session
19:00 h onwards Informal Networking


Prof Dr Elena Surovyatkina
Leader, Monsoon Research Group – Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany

Prof Dr Elena Surovyatkina is a leader of Monsoon Research Group at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany, and a leading researcher at Space Research Institute of Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia.

Prof Surovyatkina has her expertise in theoretical physics in the field of critical phenomena theory. Currently, her research is devoted to the spatially organized critical transitions in climate and her most significant contribution in climate dynamics is a novel methodology of the long-term forecasting of the Indian summer monsoon. This long-term forecast means prediction of the onset date (40 days in advance) and withdrawal date (70 days in advance), thus offering the earliest prediction of monsoon timing and the only available withdrawal date in India.

Successfully predicting the onset and withdrawal of the Indian summer monsoon in central part of India for three years in a row, Prof Elena Surovyatkina has offered crucial information for appropriate decision making at various levels such as for farmers at the field (e.g. plowing and sowing day) to the Central Government (e.g. managing food procurement policies).


Registrations for the event are now closed.