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Why India's spending big on weather forecasting

Thursday, June 09, 2016 - 01:30

India's spending $60 million on a new supercomputer to modernize it's monsoon forecasting system. As Eve John reports, it could be a big boost for the country's economy.

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The lifeblood of India's economy - the monsoon - has finally arrived... and with it some good news for millions of farmers Forecasts for the seasonal rains are about to get a whole lot more accurate - India is spending $60 million dollars on a new supercomputer that will be able to crunch a massive amount of data quickly.... Replacing an old statistical system in use since British colonial rule (SOUNDBITE) (English) MAYANK BHARDWAJ, REUTERS REPORTER, SAYING: "They say your production can go up by 15 percent. So India is a large producer of a number of commodities and precise and specific forecasts will help farmers raise production by 15 percent." The current model is only able to issue a nation-wide forecast... But the new system, based on a U.S. model, would use computing speeds of up to 10 times faster... to generate 3D models to help predict rain for each state ...helping farmers decide the best time to irrigate, or example, or apply fertilizer... and plan in advance if the rains fail. A major boon for a country that's a top producer of commodities like wheat and cotton. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MAYANK BHARDWAJ, REUTERS REPORTER, SAYING: "More than 600 million people depend for their livelihood on agriculture. So it affects economy in a big way." India's in the middle of its second-straight year of drought The new supercomputer won't be up and running until 2017.... So until then farmers will just have to hope that the old system's forecast for this year - of above average rains - is correct.

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Why India's spending big on weather forecasting

Thursday, June 09, 2016 - 01:30