Great strides have been made in weather forecasting in recent years. While India has made a beginning of dynamical weather forecasting some time ago, our skill remains far below the state of the art. This is partly due to lack of adequate number of skilled scientists to work in the area of improving weather forecasts. Similarly, noteworthy breakthroughs have been made in dynamical seasonal climate forecasting. However, we are only now thinking of starting such an effort in the country. A large pool of trained and dedicated Climate and Earth System scientists (~400-500) are required urgently if we want to catch up with the best of the world in a limited time frame. Unfortunately, currently, there are very few (~20) such qualified scientists in the country.
In view of the above, it is pertinent that a world class training program is in place exclusively in the field of Earth System Sciences and Climate with a view to understand the monsoon phenomena at various scales and the climate and climate change science to build the capacity to make world class weather and climate forecasts.
In order to create a necessary pool of experts in the field of Earth System Sciences and Climate, required for improving prediction of both weather and climate, a world class comprehensive Advanced Training Program is proposed that:
The proposed Program will be oriented towards imparting M. Tech. as well as Ph.D. degrees. In addition, it will also offer special certificate course program for the International students from other countries. The proposed training program will be affiliated to an academic institution/university for offering a degree.
In order to improve the quality of weather and climate forecasts in the country, Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), Govt. of India has recognized that a large number of well trained scientists, knowledgeable in atmospheric, oceanic and geosciences have to be inducted to the country’s R & D and operational organizations. In addition, there are major concerns for an urgent need to understand the science of climate change and its possible impacts at the local, regional and global scales for undertaking any preventive/mitigating/adaptive measures. The existing traditional training programs undertaken at various institutions/organizations (with exception of one or two) lack quantitative problem solving training. Moreover, students do not get exposure to the state-of-art technology such as working on physical models of the ocean-land-atmosphere system.
Another important national need is to have reliable extended range prediction of the monsoon. Development of a system for long range prediction of seasonal mean monsoon and extended range prediction of active/break spells would involve assessing component models, namely, models of the atmosphere and the ocean, coupling strategy, assessment of bias of the coupled model, data assimilation, development of forecast strategy etc. At the same time basic research is also essential for improving any prediction capability.
In addition, India has now established a leadership in the South Asian region and under various forums (BIMSTEC, SAARC, RIM, IOGOOS, etc.) is committed to impart training to the scientists of these countries towards their capacity building for Climate and Earth Systems Sciences apart from providing other necessary guidance and advisories in terms of disaster warning, climate services, sharing of data as well as setting up of observational systems.
Until now good computing infrastructure was not available in the country especially to the training institutions of the country for students to work on advanced climate and Earth System models. With the commissioning of the high end computational facilities at the various MoES units that will be interconnected, in addition to the knowledge network, there will now be some computational power available for the training purpose.
In order to have the world class training with latest technologies in the field of Earth System Sciences and Climate, it will be necessary to have a pool of faculty from National and International scientists. The students undergoing training may also be sent to the International Institutions and/or operational Centres as part of their training.
With the restructuring of ocean science and technology, atmospheric sciences and seismology as the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), a new beginning was made to integrate ocean, atmosphere, and earth to have a comprehensive view with respect to weather, climate and geohazards, in addition to ocean science, technology and resources. Efforts have been made to identify the gaps in terms of science and technology, observation capability, instrumentation, networking, etc. and to come up with recommendations. Six committees addressing specific aspects had been constituted that came up with specific recommendations that are being implemented. One of the committees on the manpower strongly recommended that MoES should evolve a suitable Human Resource Development Program, which should among the other things, find ways to locate suitable talent and give them appropriate orientation by designing courses, educational programmes and intensive training.