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Drawing a Bead on India's Enigmatic Monsoon

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Science  24 Feb 2012:
Vol. 335, Issue 6071, pp. 910
DOI: 10.1126/science.335.6071.910

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India's booming economy is still a gamble on the monsoon. In any given year, if rainfall climbs more than 10% above a long-term monsoon average, floods ensue. If it declines more than 10% below average, a drought is declared. Slippage in either direction brings misery. For example, a drought in 2002 shrank India's GDP by an estimated 5.8%. Every meteorologist's dream here is to accurately predict the monsoon's arrival, distribution, and departure. Toward that end, this year the Ministry of Earth Sciences is launching a 5-year, $75 million "monsoon mission" to improve the study of complex ocean-atmosphere interactions.