Robots to solve rain riddle

DECCAN CHRONICLE.
Published Jun 15, 2016, 1:02 am IST
Updated Jun 15, 2016, 1:02 am IST
Indian-UK researchers to study factors that influence monsoons.
Scientists from UEA will sail into the Bay of Bengal during the monsoon and release the underwater robots, which will measure variables such as ocean temperature, salinity and currents.
 Scientists from UEA will sail into the Bay of Bengal during the monsoon and release the underwater robots, which will measure variables such as ocean temperature, salinity and currents.

Hyderabad: In an attempt to understand the dynamics of monsoon, Indian and British researchers are planning to use underwater robots and aircraft to create a model that could help in better prediction of rains in the world’s second largest country.

“The Indian monsoon is notoriously hard to predict. It is a very complicated weather system and the processes are not understood or recorded in science,” said lead researcher Prof Adrian Matthews, from UEA’s School of Environmental Sciences.

 

Scientists from UEA will sail into the Bay of Bengal during the monsoon and release the underwater robots, which will measure variables such as ocean temperature, salinity and currents.

“Simultaneously, collaborators from a partner project led by the University of Reading with collaborators across the UK and India will use a state-of-the-art aircraft to take atmospheric measurements at the same time,” a statement by University of East Anglia said.

The $11-million project is funded by India’s ministry of earth sciences, the UK’s Met Office, the UK Natural Environment Research Council, and the Newton Fund.

“We are aiming for a better understanding of the actual physical processes. What we have now are imperfect models for predicting monsoon rainfall when it hits land, so this will create better forecasts,” Mr Matthews said.

He said the researchers aim to combine oceanic and atmospheric measurements to monitor weather systems as they are generated. “Nobody has ever made observations on this scale during the monsoon season itself so this is a ground-breaking project,” he said.

Due to improper models, analysts say weather forecasts are often off the mark. Accurate or better forecasts will help farmers to plan their sowing better, which will improve livelihood of millions of Indians in the hinterland, improve food production and also give a big boost to the economy.

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