Why subseasonal weather forecasts are key to avoiding crop losses from droughts and floods
As experts meet online for the Future Directions of Subseasonal to Seasonal Predication over South Asia, researchers from the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology and the International Water Management Institute discuss the potential of subseasonal weather forecasting – and the important role it can play to optimize agricultural production and help reduce farmer vulnerability to climate-related disasters.
Economic losses from weather-related shocks have doubled in India over the last three decades, from US$ 20 billion in 1998–1997 to US$ 45 billion in 2008–2017. As climate change continues to increase the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, farmers need to be better prepared or risk losing their livelihoods. But, how can they plan for floods and droughts when long-term seasonal forecasts are unable to pinpoint exactly when a destructive event will take place, and short-term weather forecasts provide information that is too late to be useful? Subseasonal weather forecasting – on a timescale of 2-4 weeks – may offer a potential way forward.
Photo credit: Giriraj Amarnath/IWMI