The behavior of the summer monsoon has significant implications for the economy and livelihoods in India, particularly in the rural sector. Over 60% of cropped area in India is rainfed, and over 70% of the population depends upon the rural natural resource base for their livelihoods. Droughts and floods have deep impacts on rural households, and great budgetary implications for the government at district, state and national levels. The ability to generate reliable seasonal climate forecasts, tailored to specific policy and institutional contexts, could improve India's ability to manage climate risks and reduce these impacts.
The ERFS project, supported by India’s Ministry of Agriculture, seeks to improve capacity to forecast the Indian summer monsoon, and to demonstrate approaches to using forecasts and other climate information to benefit agriculture/rural livelihoods. It integrates risk management and climate science research, involving leading institutions in India in climate research and agricultural management. The project adopts a demonstration approach, focusing on select districts in nine states that face significant livelihood impacts due to variability in the southwest monsoon: Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, and Uttarakhand.
IRI’s role in ERFS is to collaborate and help guide efforts to improve capacity to forecast the summer monsoon, to analyze climate-related agricultural risks, and to develop approaches to manage these risks using improved climate information. This will involve substantial capacity development and close collaboration with Indian scientists and project staff at Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IIT Delhi), the India Meteorological Department (IMD), and agriculture universities in the nine demonstration areas. IRI also serves as the coordinating agency for international engagement in the project in both climate and agriculture risk research. This includes coordination of inputs from a range of globally recognized climate research centers, such as ECMWF, JAMSTEC, and NOAA laboratories, into a multi-model ensemble forecast of the summer monsoon. IRI is also coordinating contributions from agriculture and climate research experts at Wageningen University, Netherlands, the University of Queensland, Australia, and others.
Partners (partial list)