Below normal rainfall most likely in South Asia this year, say experts


This year the South Asian Climate Outlook Forum (SASCOF) has predicted that below normal rainfall is most likely during the 2015 southwest monsoon season (June – September) over South Asia as a whole. This consensus outlook for the 2015 southwest monsoon rainfall over South Asia was developed during the sixth SASCOF held in Dhaka, Bangladesh, from 21-22 April 2015. 

Experts from all South Asian countries of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka as well as international experts attended the Forum. The regional forum was hosted by the Bangladesh Meteorological Department with technical co-ordination by India Meteorological Department (IMD). The event was sponsored by the World Meteorological Organization.

The consensus was developed through an expert assessment of the prevailing global climate conditions and forecasts from different climate models from around the world. Currently weak El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) conditions are prevailing over the Pacific Ocean and there is strong consensus among the experts about the possibility that these may continue during the southwest monsoon season. 

Consensus outlook for 2015 Southwest Monsoon Rainfall over South Asia

ENSO is one of the global scale climate phenomena that have significant influence on the year-to-year variability of the monsoon over South Asia. The South Asian Climate Outlook is intended to inform decisions in key sectors such as agriculture and water management, disaster risk reduction, and health.

Meanwhile, the second Climate Services User Forum (CSUF) for the Water Sector was held in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on 22 and 23 April 2015 in conjunction with the sixth South Asian Climate Outlook Forum. The CSUF was organized by the International Commission for Irrigation and Drainage (ICID) and aimed to promote regional collaboration. 

At the CSUF, ICIMOD’s Programme Coordinator Dr Mandira Singh Shrestha made a presentation on ‘HKH-HYCOS’, a regional initiative to enhance regional cooperation in hydrometeorological data collection and sharing for flood forecasting to support disaster prevention and flood management at regional level. The project is being implemented in partnership with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and regional partners from Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Nepal, and Pakistan with financial support provided by the Government of Finland. It has established a regional flood information system (RFIS) to facilitate transboundary exchange of real-time data, best practices, and know-how. 

Secretary General of ICID Dr Avinash Tyagi shared perspectives on climate information needs for water sector users. The experience from Australia in seamless water forecasting was provided by Dr Dasarath Jayasuriya from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. There were also country presentations on status of flood forecasting and role of long-range weather predictions in flood forecasting from Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) Pune.  The International Water Management Institute (IWMI) presented the status of development of drought monitoring systems for South Asia, while the Regional Integrated Multi-hazard Early Warning System (RIMES) presented on the extended range forecasts for flood alerts in Bangladesh. 

The CSUF provided a platform for various stakeholders including hydrologist, water managers, and flood forecasters to discuss their needs for climate products such as more refined seasonal forecasts, and tailored hydrological models and data.