Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Dr Sylvia Knight Head of Education talks about her work on Monsoons

Every now and again I get to produce or commission a new resource for MetLink, (  our website for teachers. I try to target these to fill gaps in what is currently available. So, for a while we’ve been concentrating on producing resources which support fieldwork.

However, many teachers have told me that they struggle to find good resources for teaching monsoons, particularly at A level. So, this week I have been using data and information from a paper by Challinor et al. to produce a resource which gets students investigating whether there is a link between Indian rainfall and groundnut production.

As always, the challenge is to make a resource which is robust and not open to misinterpretation without oversimplifying things. This particular data set was brilliant, giving a clear answer which still left room for interpretation. Students should find that over 50% of the year to year variability in the harvest can be attributed to rainfall. Its been so interesting, that now I’m going to see whether I can find some daily rainfall data for stations in India, to see whether I can illustrate the spread of the monsoon rains across the continent…

The image below shows Mumbai during the monsoon