South Asian climate is influenced by both tropical (Oct-Dec) and temperate mid-latitude (Dec-Feb) circulation systems during the winter months. Southern parts of South Asia, including peninsular India, Sri Lanka, Maldives and southern coastal areas of Myanmar are influenced by North East Monsoon (Re-establishment 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 winter season be issued at two different times - one during September/October for southern region and the other during November/December for 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, followed by Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar in 2016, Male, Maldives in 2017, Colombo, Sri Lanka in 2018 and Thiruvananthapuram, India in 2019.
The objective of the forum is to prepare consensus seasonal climate information on regional scale that provides a consistent basis for preparing national level outlooks. Such platforms also serve to interact with user sector to understand and enhance the use of climate information.
The SASCOF-18 is scheduled to be held in online due to CoViD-19 pandemic. 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. The Reginal Climate Center (RCC), IMD-Pune in collaboration with RIMES, UK Met Office and WMO shall be involved in organizing this online session of SASCOF.