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Alexander von Humboldt Medal 2024 Subimal Ghosh

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European Geosciences Union

Subimal Ghosh

Subimal Ghosh
Subimal Ghosh

The 2024 Alexander von Humboldt Medal is awarded to Subimal Ghosh for significant contributions in hydrometeorology, climate services, climate education and societal impacts related to the complex South Asian Summer Monsoon System.

Subimal Ghosh from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, India, is recognised for his academic and research excellence, broader societal impacts and outstanding contributions in hydrometeorology, climate services and climate education, specifically in India. Almost all his research works and professional activities were conducted in India, which not only brings a great visibility of Indian contribution in the area of geophysics, but also has huge impacts on Indian science and society.

Over the last 15 years, Ghosh has worked specifically in the areas of the Indian Summer Monsoon and its extremes, using regional modelling, land-atmosphere interactions, predictions of monsoon characteristics using innovative dynamic-statistical modelling and assessment of the impacts of climate variability and changes on water resources in India. The quality of his publications in high impact interdisciplinary and subject-specific journals are evidence of his rich research contributions.

Ghosh’s most significant contribution is understanding land-atmosphere interaction in the complex South Asian Summer Monsoon System. Traditionally, land sources were neglected in the Indian Monsoon system. Ghosh’s groundbreaking work, published in the Journal of Hydrometeorology, demonstrates that 20%-25% of the moisture contributing to precipitation in India during the end of summer monsoon have terrestrial origin. These include anthropogenic sources, such as irrigation, which contribute to the monsoon rainfall. With this better understanding, he improved monsoon simulations with reduced dry biases over India, a previously unresolved problem associated with monsoon circulation.

Ghosh was a lead author of Chapter 11: Weather and Climate Extremes, Working Group 1 of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Assessment Report 6. He led the development of India’s first integrated real time urban flood forecasting system, involving a consortium of 30 scientists from seven academic and research institutes. The forecasting system is implemented in Chennai, India. He worked with the farmers of drought-prone Maharashtra, developing technologies for sustainable irrigation management, and also developed adaptation strategies to cope with drought. These initiatives have been implemented in the Infrastructure for Climate Resilient Growth (ICRG) program of the Ministry of Rural Development by the Indian Government.

To summarise, Subimal Ghosh has made significant all-round contributions, demonstrating his research potential and leadership in climate science in India.