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Partnerships for enhanced engagement in research (PEER) SCIENCE
Cycle 1 (2011 Deadline)

Intra-seasonal climate predictions for Sri Lanka and Maldives for water resources management   

PI: Lareef Zubair, Foundation for Environment, Climate and Technology, Mahaweli Authority of Sri Lanka
U.S. Partner:  Adam H. Sobel, Columbia University
Project Dates: May 2012 - April 2015

Project Overview 

 Sri LankaPartnership Picture A
Sewwandhi Chandrasekera gives a talk called "Meteorology and Predictability of Tropical Storm ARB-04 (TC5) in the Indian Ocean during November 2011" at the Sri Lanka Water Convention.

Climate fluctuations at intra-seasonal time scales (beyond a few days to a few months) have profound influences on management of water resources to generate hydroelectricity and irrigate agricultural lands. Any ability to anticipate these fluctuations is valuable. Recent, improvements in understanding of intra-seasonal (IS) climate variability and the availability of real-time satellite based observations have led to the emergence of methodologies for IS climate predictions from a few days up to a month. This project aims to bring to bear climate variability insights from a National Science Foundation-sponsored program called DYNAMO focused on the Western Equatorial Indian Ocean. Specifically, the researchers will test IS climate predictions and assess their use for water management in Sri Lanka.
The overall goal of the project is to promote better understanding of IS variability of rainfall around Sri Lanka and Maldives, refine prediction schemes, translate this information to support water management, and upgrade local capcity for climate science and climate services. Even modest improvements in IS predictions can lead significant social and economic consequences from anticipatory water management. Because of the principal investigator's affiliation with the Mahaweli Authority of Sri Lanka, which is the nation's coordinating agency for water management, the project has potential for near-term impact as improved prediction models are developed and tested.
Summary of Recent Activities
In the last quarter of 2013, the project team installed two automated weather observation instrumentation posts and set up systems for logging and uploading weather data to the Internet. The observation system is being installed as a first step in testing the potential for flood predictions based on monitored weather conditions. Data from this system are being updated to the website In addition to these live data, the project produced 12 weekly climate reports that were made available at Three monthly climate reports for the Maldives were produced and are available at One problem encountered during the quarter was the U.S. government shutdown, which led to the inability of the project team to provide short-lead intra-seasonal predictions because were was no new data from the NOAA Climate Prediction Center. Meanwhile, the PI also visited U.S. partner Adam Sobel at Columbia University to initiate remote data processing and to obtain references and other resources for project work.
In the coming months, the team plans to review meteorological monitoring for quality assurance of the data. They will also to use the U.S. partner’s computer system to further develop the Internet-based data management system. The team will be writing annual climate summaries for Sri Lanka and the Maldives and drafting research papers on the effects of the Madden-Julian Oscillation and the El Niño Southern Oscillation on climate change
  Morocco Partnership Photo A During World Environment Day activities at
Azhar Central School in June 2013,
schoolchildren put together a drama on
community responses to Dengue fever.
  Morocco Partnership Photo B Lareef Zubair gives his workshop on
mainstreaming climate information applications
for enhancement of agroecosystem services
and functions in the Nilwala Basin in May 2013.
  Morocco Partnership Photo C 
 During World Environment Day activities in
June 2013, Akurana Balika Vidyalaya
students staged a production on the
importance of the Pinga Oya River.

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