US, October 9, 2014: Under a new agreement signed between the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) and the India Ministry of Earth Sciences, US atmospheric researchers and their counterparts in India will join forces to advance weather forecasting and technology.
The memorandum of understanding (MOU) will support collaborations to improve forecasts of major weather events in India, including monsoonal rains that are critical for growing crops that feed hundreds of millions of people. In turn, the knowledge gained from insights into India's weather patterns will help US researchers advance their own forecast skills to better predict events closer to home.
Collaborations are expected to involve research on aircraft and radar technology, nowcasting of severe weather events, hydrometeorology, satellite data, oceanic and climate research, and urban flooding. A particularly important area is long-range prediction, potentially helping Indian farmers with planting decisions based on the projected intensity and timing of the next monsoon season.
One of the first collaborations is expected to focus on a new technology that produces unusually detailed measurements of water vapour and wind in the lower atmosphere. Scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), which is managed by UCAR on behalf of the National Science Foundation, have developed a prototype LiDAR instrument for such measurements that leverages fibre-optic advances from the telecommunications industry. The instrument known as a water vapour DIAL (differential absorption LiDAR) can be used in forecasts of thunderstorms, frontal systems, and other weather events.