CGS’ Doug Parker and John Marsham have won a major research grant as part of a joint UK-Indian consortium studying the dynamics of the Indian Monsoon. The INCOMPASS project will involve a large-scale field campaign in India and over the adjacent oceans, in the year 2016, and a programme of computer modelling, with the specific aim of improving predictions of the monsoon.
The brown regions are high topography, which act as barriers to moisture rich air coming from the Indian ocean to the south. Image: Wikimedia Commons
The Indian Monsoon is one of the most significant climate systems on Earth. The seasonal changes in the monsoon winds, which bring the annual rainfall to most parts of India in the summer, are one of the most intense and robust patterns in our climate system. However, computer models show very large errors for this region, whether predicting the weather a few days in advance, or representing the current climate of India. Climate projections for future Indian rainfall also have significant uncertainties.
The INCOMPASS project aims to explain the physical processes which lead to these errors in models, and to derive strategies to represent the processes more accurately. In particular, the project will explore the ways in which the land surface, and the patterns of land-use, lead to responses in the regional climate.
Monsoon rains over Mumbai. Image: Wikimedia Commons
The project will support a 3-year postdoctoral research position in Leeds. The research group at Leeds will contribute to the airborne research programme and will lead the analysis of new high-resolution models of the monsoon, using the Met Office forecast model. Airborne observations will be made with the UK Facility for Airborne Atmospheric Measurements (FAAM) BAe146 research aircraft, and will be supplemented by a large number of extra balloon-soundings from the operational weather stations across India. A network of ground stations will measure the water and energy budgets at the surface, and how these change during the seasonal progression of the monsoon. High resolution models, which capture the dynamics of individual storms, will enable researchers to evaluate the feedbacks between the land surface and the atmosphere, which are governed by these storms.
INCOMPASS is a consortium of UK and Indian partners, led by the University of Reading and by the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), with the University of Leeds, the NERC National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS) and Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH), the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the National Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (NCMRWF), the CSIR National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL), the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), the India Meteorological Department (IMD) and the Met Office. The project is jointly funded by NERC and the Indian Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES). Two sister projects were also funded, to study Indian Ocean dynamics, and to study atmospheric aerosol processes in the monsoon system.
The extreme flooding in the summer of 2010 was due to high volumes of rainfall during the monsoon season that year.