Indian Forecast Error

India receives 90% of its rain during monsoon season so forecasting monsoons is critical for productive farming.  Fortunately, according to an article in Nature (subs. req.), the Indian Meteorological Department has found a way to make its forecast better than any other available – they have suppresed publication of the other forecasts.  The Indian government says this is necessary to prevent "confusion."

    The main competitor to the government’s statistical model, which has not reduced its forecast error in 70 years, is from an Institute based in Bangalore which uses a climate model.  The Institute and government forecasts can differ dramatically.  The Institute, for example, forecast that rainfall would be 34% below average in June and 12% below average in July while the government forecast "normal or above normal rains."

The rainfall in June?  35% below average.  No confusion about that.

Thanks to Robin Hanson for the pointer.


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