India wants a supercomputer to forecast monsoons

India wants a supercomputer to forecast monsoons


The meteorological office is spending $60 million to forecast the development of the seasonal rains: thanks to 3D modeling, it will replace the current IBM system.

According to the World Bank, agriculture represents approximately 18% of India’s GDP, but the agricultural sector is heavily dependent on the monsoon season, from June to September, when two-thirds of the annual rainfall of the country occur: accurate forecasts could help farmers identify the best time to sow their crops, increasing the agricultural production up to 15%. The current forecasting system, introduced during the British colonial rule, is based on a statistical model that combines historical patterns with data collected from satellites, radars and observatories.

Over the last decade – says Madhavan Nair Rajeevan, Minister of Earth Sciences in India – we have gained a greater degree of accuracy in forecasting rains, but the monsoon is still a very complex meteorological system that only God has the ability to fully understand”.

The Supercomputer therefore does not claim perfection, but at least to avoid clamorous errors as in 2009, when the meteorological office failed to predict a major drought, which lasted for a long time and had devastating effects on Indian agriculture.