Weather scientists failed to catch the IOD drift this year

Various international agencies this year failed to predict a positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), a major factor affecting monsoon pattern in India. The admission has come from none other that Japanese meteorologist Prof Toshio Yamagata, who was instrumental in identifying the IOD in 1999.

He was in the city for the fourth Prof PR Pisharoty lecture series at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology. "For the first time in seven years, various international climate prediction agencies and models failed in predicting the IOD. In May-June, it was predicted as negative but by August a positive IOD developed. Ocean observations are important in predicting monsoon," he added.

Prof Toshio Yamagata had also predicted for the first time an IOD-which is a difference in sea surface temperature in the eastern and western Indian Ocean that gives rise to changes in the wind pattern-around seven years ago.

In his presentation, he explained how frequent climate changes result in variations and abnormal weather in terms of magnitude and pattern.

For better prediction of IOD he had designed and launched the 'Indian Ocean Buoy Project: RAMA (Research Moored for African-Asian-Australian Monsoon Analysis and Prediction Array' in 2000 for Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology. "The project has been operational in western Indian Ocean since 2002. The climate prediction will help mitigate impacts of extreme events," he said.

Predicting droughts, floods, abnormally high or low temperatures between several months and a year in advance will make a direct contribution to socioeconomic activities, said the scientist.

"Long-term measures aimed at sustaining the global environment should be promoted in parallel with this seasonal prediction of climate variation and press in adaptation measures based on it," he stated.

Systems in developing countries are particularly vulnerable to flooding, drought and other calamities. He stressed cooperation and promotion of infrastructure and capacity building in these countries to understand the variations and take long-term mitigation measures.

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