South Asian climate is influenced by both tropical (Oct-Dec) and temperate mid-latitude (Dec-Feb) circulation systems during the winter months. The southern parts of South Asia, including peninsular India, Sri Lanka, Maldives and southern coastal areas of Myanmar are influenced by the North East Monsoon (Reestablishment of prevalent north easterly trade-wind regime over South Asia associated with the southward movement of the ITCZ), while extra-tropical activity dominated by “Western disturbances” influence the northern parts of the region including Afghanistan, Pakistan, north India, Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar. It is therefore necessary that seasonal forecasts for the winter season are issued at two different times - one during September/October for the southern region and the other during November/December for the northern region. .
The crucial role of winter rains and the growing recognition of the benefits of SASCOFs in articulating and sharing seasonal climate information have led to the need for regularly conducting winter SASCOFs. Winter sessions of SASCOF’s were started in 2015 keeping in view the importance of winter seasonal climate to key user sectors. The first winter SASCOF session was held in Oct 2015, at Chennai, Tamil Nadu India, and most recently in Colombo, Sri Lanka in Sep 2018.
The objective of the forum is to prepare seasonal climate information for the region that provides a consistent basis for National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) to prepare national level outlooks. Such platforms also serve to interact with user sector to understand and enhance the use of climate information.
The SASCOF-15 is scheduled to be held in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India during 23-25 September 2019. The Regional Climate Center (RCC), Pune of India Meteorological Department (IMD), UK Met Office (UKMO), Regional Integrated Multi-hazard Early-warning System for Asia and Africa (RIMES) and WMO (World Meteorological Organization) shall provide technical support. RIMES in collaboration with the RCC, IMD-Pune, UK Met Office and WMO shall be co-organizing this session of SASCOF.
The UK Met Office working in partnership with the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) is implementing the UK aid-funded Asia Regional Resilience to a Changing Climate (ARRCC) programme. The four-year programme commenced in 2018 and aims to strengthen weather and climate services across South Asia. The programme will deliver new technologies and innovative approaches to help vulnerable communities use weather warnings and forecasts to better prepare for climate-related shocks. SASCOF-15 is being funded by ARRCC under its Work Package Strengthening Climate Information Partnerships (SCIPSA) on Seasonal Prediction.