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    Storms in India

    Rolling in the Deep: Underwater Robots to Study Indian Monsoon

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    Yellow mini-submarines will help UK and Indian researchers in an $11 million project to unveil the secrets of the Indian monsoon, which is critical to hundreds of millions of people.

    Cars are seen submerged in deep water on a flooded street in London on June 7, 2016, in this handout picture from London Fire Brigade
    © REUTERS / London Fire Brigade/Handout via Reuters
    Scientists from the University of East Anglia will release seven underwater robots from an Indian ship into the Bay of Bengal next week to study the influence of ocean conditions on the monsoon rainfall, a university press statement said on Tuesday. The robots, which look like miniature yellow submarines and have computers onboard, will spend a month moving through the bay and measuring temperature, saltiness and currents.

    Meanwhile, the researchers from the University of Reading and climate experts in India will lead a partner project using a plane to measure heat and moisture in the air over the bay. Scientists from the Centre for Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at the Indian Institute of Science, the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services, the National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting, and the National Institute of Ocean Technology are collaborating on the project.

    "The Indian monsoon is notoriously hard to predict. It is a very complicated weather system and the processes are not understood or recorded in science," lead researcher Adrian Matthews said. "Nobody has ever made observations on this scale during the monsoon season itself so this is a truly groundbreaking project," he said. The 8-million-pound ($11 million) project is an unprecedented effort to observe the monsoon in India and could eventually help farmers time planting better, according to Matthews.

    Over 200 million people in India suffered from one of the country's worst droughts this year, following two poor annual rainy seasons and the onset of intense summer heat. Strong showers in are expected to bring some relief from hot weather. Better forecasting would improve the nation's capacity to prepare for such weather changes.

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    monsoon, research, weather, India, United Kingdom
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