Additional Information: www.himpac.org
HIMPAC is an Indo-German initiative targeted towards understanding the modern and palaeomonsoon variability on seasonal to decadal time scales over the Indian subcontinent.
With its influence over the lives of more than a billion people and the ecosystem of an entire subcontinent, the importance of understanding the monsoon variability and its causal mechanisms cannot be overemphasised. Despite dedicated efforts by the scientists over the centuries (e.g. Halley, 1686; Blanford, 1886), a comprehensive picture of monsoon variability, especially on societally relevant time scales, has proved elusive. The absence of long term high resolution (seasonal to decadal) records, the complexity and multiplicity of factors influencing the India monsoon [e.g. El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), tropical mid-latitude interactions] are some of the factors which have hindered the efforts to understand and predict the monsoon. The issue now needs to be urgently addressed because any changes in the nature of the influencing factors, or the magnitude of their impact (e.g. severity of droughts and floods) would be critical for land use planning in a global warming scenario.