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Indian monsoon can be predicted better after volcanic eruptions

Large volcanic eruptions can help to forecast monsoons over India. This seasonal rainfall is key for the country’s agriculture and thus for feeding 1 billion people. As erratic as they are, volcanic eruptions improve the predictability, an Indian-German research team finds. What seems to be a paradox is, in fact, due to a stronger coupling between the monsoon over large parts of South and South-East Asia and the El Niño phenomenon after an eruption. Combining data from meteorological observations, climate records, computer model simulations and such geological archives as tree-rings, corals and ice-cores from past millennia of Earth history, the researchers found that a synchronization of the monsoon with the strongest mode of natural climate variability, El Niño, makes it easier to anticipate the strength of seasonal rainfall in the Indian subcontinent.

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