India is building a $60 million supercomputer that will help predict monsoons

india monsoon supercomputer monsoonindia
Summer monsoons are the lifeblood of Indian agriculture. Beginning with the initial burst in May or June and culminating in steady rainfall through September, monsoons supply a vital resource to reservoirs and much of the peninsula’s farmlands. Without this rain, the country would struggle to provide for it’s 1.3 billion people, who are one of the world’s top consumers and producers of crops like wheat and rice. Predicting monsoons helps farmers determine when and how to work their land.

For nearly a century, India has turned to an old statistical method to forecast and prepare for these seasonal downpours. This method is better than nothing but hardly perfect – offering only an overall, country-wide forecast and forecasts for five regions. For a country as large as India, these scattered predictions aren’t exactly descriptive.

In an effort to work better with the weather, India will abandon the statistical method and instead adopt a $60 million supercomputer with 3D modeling to help predict next year’s monsoons, reports Reuters.

The dynamic, 3D modeling technique is far more high-tech than the statistical method, which sees Indian meteorologists collect data on things like sea-surface temperatures, wind direction, and wind speed before comparing this information to historical records of rainfall.

The task is tedious but tends to be reliable. Last year, despite forecasts of rainfall by India’s only private forecaster, the India Meteoritical Department (IMD) correctly predicted a drought for the second year in a row using the statistical method. Still, the method’s faults were made apparent when the IMD failed to forecast 2009’s record-breaking drought.

On the other hand, the 3D modeling technique is quick and reliable, but demands immense computing power. Meteorologist M. Rajeevan, who heads the country’s weather office, told Reuters that the new supercomputer will work ten times faster than the one used in recent years. With this speed and efficiency, India hopes to better predict the weather patterns that provide its farmers with most of their rainfall while helping those in rural regions prepare for drought.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: 1-handed drone control, a pot that stirs itself

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

Our favorite Windows apps will help you get the most out of your new PC

Not sure what apps you should be downloading for your newfangled Windows device? Here are the best Windows apps, whether you need something to speed up your machine or access your Netflix queue. Check out our categories and favorite picks.
Emerging Tech

Rocket Lab steps into spotlight with its first commercial rocket launch

Rocket Lab has deployed multiple small satellites into orbit in its first notable commercial launch. Its New Zealand-born boss said the success means "rapid and reliable access to space is now a reality for small satellites."
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in November, from 'The Witch’ to ‘Dracula’

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Product Review

Airselfie 2 may as well be a GoPro stapled to a drunk hummingbird

On paper, the Airselfie 2 is marketed as flying photographer that fits in your pocket and snaps selfies from the sky. Unfortunately it’s more like a HandiCam controlled by a swarm of intoxicated bumblebees
Emerging Tech

‘Bionic mushroom’ can generate electricity without using fossil fuels

Researchers have come up with a way to produce electricity without fossil fuels using mushrooms covered with bacteria. The mushroom provides a safe environment for special cyanobacteria that generate electricity when light is shone on them.
Emerging Tech

Curiosity rover active and drilling again after computer issue

The Curiosity rover has succeeded in drilling a hole into the tough bedrock that previously defeated it, allowing imaging and collection of samples. The rover had been incapacitated for a few weeks due to problems with its computer.
Emerging Tech

Astronomers discover two rogue planets that do not orbit a star

Astronomers have identified two rogue planets in our galaxy which do not orbit around a star. Unlike the vast majority of discovered planets, these rogue planets drift through space alone with no sun to shine on them.
Emerging Tech

Pairs of supermassive black holes spotted in colliding galaxies

Astronomers have discovered several pairs of supermassive black holes in galaxies that are colliding with each other. These black holes will spiral closer and closer together and eventually merge into one supermassive black hole.
Emerging Tech

Quantum-based accelerometer can locate objects without GPS

Researchers have created a quantum "compass" that allows navigation without satellites. The instrument, technically called a standalone quantum accelerometer, is small enough to be transportable and has a very high level of accuracy.
Emerging Tech

Ancient continent discovered beneath the ice of Antarctica

Antarctica could be hiding the remains of a long-lost continent. Scientists created a 3D map of the crust beneath the Antarctic ice sheet which shows a similarity to the crust in Australia and India, suggesting they used to be joined.
Emerging Tech

Alibaba’s Singles’ Day sale smashes online shopping records

The annual online shopping frenzy that is Singles' Day this year raked in $30.8 billion, up from $25 billion last time around. The Alibaba-organized event generates more in sales than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.
Emerging Tech

Watch this lab-grown heart tissue beat just like the real thing

A team of researchers in Germany have used stem cells to create a lab-grown human heart tissue which actually beats, as well as responding to drugs in the same way as the real thing.
Emerging Tech

Shipping crate filled with 3D-printing robots may be the future of construction

Autodesk has created a robot-filled shipping container which may represent the future of construction work. The crate contains two robots able to 3D print custom components for building sites.