Could Arctic weather conditions affect Indian farmers this year?

While the Indian Meteorological Department has predicted 97 percent of normal monsoon rains this year, meteorologists at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) in Pune are keeping a close eye on unfolding weather conditions at the Arctic Circle that is 5,000 kilometres away, for their potential to help forecast, and possibly impact, this year’s monsoon.

Errors in forecasting the monsoon rains that contribute more than 80 percent of Indian rainfall, and serve as a lifeline for 17 percent of the world’s population, have a particularly devastating effect on India’s farm sector.

According to recent research led by Santosh B Kakade, a scientist at the IITM, temperature and pressure conditions at specific locations in the Arctic region during the pre-monsoon period correlate with the Indian summer monsoon rainfall. Kakade will test his hypothesis against Arctic and Indian monsoon data over the next few years. If it turns out to be correct, his research could give Indian scientists another parameter to forecast the Indian summer monsoon.

Agriculture is the backbone of Indian economy which in turn relies on the monsoon season. Rising global temperature is not only causing climate change but also contributing to the irregular rainfall patterns. Uneven rainfall patterns increased temperature, elevated CO2 content in the atmosphere are important climatic parameters which affects the crop production.
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