• Volume 124, Issue 7

      October 2015,   pages  1377-1598

    • Regional biomass burning trends in India: Analysis of satellite fire data

      L K Sahu Varun Sheel Kumud Pandey Ravi Yadav P Saxena Sachin Gunthe

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      The results based on the analysis of satellite fire counts detected by the Along-Track Scanning Radiometer (ATSR) sensors over different regions of India during 1998–2009 have been presented. Generally, the activities of open biomass burning show large spatial and temporal variations in India. The highest and lowest values of monthly fire counts were detected during the periods of March–May and July–September, respectively over different regions of India. The activities of biomass burning in two central states of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra were the highest and together accounted for about 25–45% of total annual fire counts detected over India during the study period. However, in opposite phases, the rainfall and fire count data show strong seasonal variation. In addition to large regional and seasonal variations, the fire data also show significant year-to-year variation. The higher annual fire counts exceeding the mean of entire period by about 16% and 43% were detected during the two periods of 1998–2000 and 2007–2009, respectively. We have estimated normalized anomaly of annual fire count data which shows large positive departures from long-term mean for the years 1999, 2007, 2008 and 2009, while negative departures for the years 2002, 2003 and 2005. Consistently, the mixing ratio of carbon monoxide (CO) typical peaks during winter but extended to pre-monsoon season during extensive fire years. The annual data over the entire region of India show lesser positive trend of about 3% yr−1. The inter-annual variation of fire count over entire India follows the trend in the ENSO Precipitation Index (ESPI) but shows opposite trend to the multivariate ENSO Index (MEI).

    • Space-based long-term observation of shrinking grassland habitat: A case-study from central India

      N Lele C P Singh R P Singh J S Chauhan J S Parihar

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      Grassland ecosystem is critical for survival of herbivores and plays an important role in conservation and management of wildlife. These habitats are widely studied for various issues, including biodiversity, biomass assessment, carrying capacity, etc. Woody species ingression in grasslands is one such important aspect that needs critical attention in protected area as this leads to shrinking of grasslands habitat. This study presents a case of Ronda grassland in Kanha National Park – a well-known protected area in India, known for its herbivore diversity and hard-ground Barasingha (Rucervus duvaceli branderi), in particular. Long-term satellite observation for five decades was carried out to understand spatio-temporal changes. Declassified Corona satellite data, aerial photographs along with satellite datasets in the subsequent period were utilised for this study. The study revealed that 88 ha (16% of Ronda and surrounding) have been ingressed during 1962–2011, in and around Ronda grassland of Kanha National Park. Rates of ingression on linear transects were found to be 60–120 m per decade. Field studies and NDVI analysis along the edge of grassland pixels as well as inside region using 1972 as baseline data, indicated woody vegetation replacing area of grassland. It was noted that Butea monosperma is invading more than other species in Ronda grassland, particularly along the stream where moisture availability is higher. Grassland habitats in Kanha are thus shrinking and thus leading to reduction in the area available for herbivore population which has increased in recent years. This can lead to severe impact on carrying capacity of these grasslands.

    • GIS-based assessment of landslide susceptibility using certainty factor and index of entropy models for the Qianyang County of Baoji city, China

      Qiqing Wang Wenping Li Wei Chen Hanying Bai

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      The main goal of this study is to produce landslide susceptibility maps for the Qianyang County of Baoji city, China, using both certainty factor (CF) and index of entropy (IOE) models. At first, a landslide inventory map was prepared using earlier reports and aerial photographs as well as by carrying out field surveys. A total of 81 landslide locations were detected. Out of these, 56 (70%) landslides were randomly selected as training data for building landslide susceptibility models and the remaining 25 (30%) were used for the validation purposes. Then, a total number of 15 landslide causative factors, such as slope angle, slope aspect, general curvature, plan curvature, profile curvature, altitude, distance to faults, distance to rivers, distance to roads, the sediment transport index (STI), the stream power index (SPI), the topographic wetness index (TWI), geomorphology, lithology, and rainfall, were used in the analysis. The susceptibility maps produced using CF and IOE models had five different susceptibility classes such as very low, low, moderate, high, and very high. Finally, the output maps were validated using the validation data (i.e., 30% landslide location data that was not used during the model construction), using the area under the curve (AUC) method. The `success rate' curve showed that the area under the curve for CF and IOE models were 0.8433 (84.33%) and 0.8227 (82.27%) accuracy, respectively. Similarly, the validation result showed that the susceptibility map using CF model has the higher prediction accuracy of 82.32%, while for IOE model it was 80.88%. The results of this study showed that the two landslide susceptibility maps obtained were successful and can be used for preliminary land use planning and hazard mitigation purpose.

    • Dynamic soil properties of some deep trenches in Mashhad city, NE Iran

      Azam Ghazi Naser Hafezi Moghadas Hossein Sadeghi Mohammad Ghafoori Gholam Reza Lashkaripour

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      Microtremor survey is achieved in order to evaluate the dynamical characteristics of surface layers. For this purpose, 13 trenches were selected and microtremor measurements were performed at the top and bottom of each trench. Floor spectral ratio (FRS) analysis was accomplished to obtain frequency and amplification of the trenches. The results of microtremor were compared with 1D equivalent linear analysis. Most of the fundamental frequencies obtained by 1D analysis are in good agreement with those calculated by microtremor technique. Irregularities in surface and subsurface geomorphic conditions tend to have differences in results obtained by both mentioned methods. Damping ratios were derived from the half power bandwidth method. The damping ratio varied between 2.1 in fine grain soils and 6.6 in sand soils.

    • Determining the site effects of 23 October 2011 earthquake (Van province, Turkey) on the rural areas using HVSR microtremor method

      İsmail Akkaya Ali Özvan Mücip Tapan M Alper Şengül

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      A magnitude of 7.1 Mw earthquake struck Van city on October 23, 2011. Although, construction practices of all rural housing units are similar in the region, the earthquake caused massive damage to villages located on soft soils in northern region of the city. In this study, the effects of soil conditions on damaged housing units were determined by conducting horizontal to vertical spectral ratios of microtremor (HVSR) measurements. The level of damage in the villages that are settled on lacustrine and stream sediments has verified that the damage correlates well with comparatively high HVSR peak period and HVSR peak amplitude values in the range of 0.2–1.6 s and 4–10, respectively. The HVSR peak period and HVSR peak amplitude levels on rock units are in the range of 0.1–0.2 s and 1.5–2, respectively. It is important to note that hillside effect is found to be another key factor that increased the level of damage to the housing units in some villages.

    • Spatio-temporal variations of b-value in and around north Pakistan

      Khaista Rehman Asghar Ali Sajjad Ahmed Wajid Ali Aamir Ali Muhammad Younis Khan

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      The seismotectonic structure of north Pakistan has been formed by ongoing collision between the Eurasian and Indian plates. North Pakistan and the adjoining areas experienced many large earthquakes in the past, which resulted in considerable damages and loss of life. A magnitude-homogenous earth-quake catalogue for north Pakistan and its surrounding areas for the instrumental period from 1964 to 2007 is used for analysis. We presented seismicity picture of the Hindukush–Pamir–Karakoram (HPK), Kohistan Island Arc (KIA) and Hazara–Kashmir–Himalayas (HKH) using various histograms and time series plots of the dataset. The b-value for each accreted domain is derived separately and investigated through a process of mutual correlation. Our computed temporal variation of b-value in Hazara region shows a significant decrease prior to 2005 Kashmir earthquake.

    • Influence of initial stress, irregularity and heterogeneity on Love-type wave propagation in double pre-stressed irregular layers lying over a pre-stressed half-space

      Abhishek Kumar Singh Amrita Das Zeenat Parween Amares Chattopadhyay

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      The present paper deals with the propagation of Love-type wave in an initially stressed irregular vertically heterogeneous layer lying over an initially stressed isotropic layer and an initially stressed isotropic half-space. Two different types of irregularities, viz., rectangular and parabolic, are considered at the interface of uppermost initially stressed heterogeneous layer and intermediate initially stressed isotropic layer. Dispersion equations are obtained in closed form for both cases of irregularities, distinctly. The effect of size and shape of irregularity, horizontal compressive initial stress, horizontal tensile initial stress, heterogeneity of the uppermost layer and width ratio of the layers on phase velocity of Love-type wave are the major highlights of the study. Comparative study has been made to identify the effects of different shapes of irregularity, presence of heterogeneity and initial stresses. Numerical computations have been carried out and depicted by means of graphs for the present study.

    • Spectroscopy of olivine basalts using FieldSpec and ASTER data: A case study from Wadi Natash volcanic field, south Eastern Desert, Egypt

      Ahmed Madani

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      This paper aims at revealing the spectral characteristics of the olivine basalts exposed at Wadi Natash area, Egypt, using FieldSpec spectroradiometer. It also evaluates band ratios and fusion techniques for mapping purposes using ASTER data. Several volcanic episodes occurred during Early- to Late-Cretaceous are recorded in the study area. Early-Cretaceous olivine basalts are highly carbonated. Late-Cretaceous eruptions took place throughout several volcanic cones aligned in NW direction. Based on FieldSpec measurements and petrographic data, two groups of olivine basalt namely `A' and `B' are recognized. Fresh olivine basalt (group A) is characterized by low flat spectral profile with overall low reflectance values (~20%). Spectral profile of altered olivine basalt (group B) shows moderate reflectance values (~37%) with four little absorption features around the 1.10, 1.40, 2.00 and 2.35 μm wavelength regions. These absorption features are attributed mainly to the presence of chlorite and carbonate alteration products as indicated by petrographic examination. ASTER false colour composite band ratio image (3/2:R, 8/1:G and 8/5:B) discriminates easily the fresh and altered basalts by deep blue and red-dish blue colours respectively. Image fusion between previously mentioned FCC ratios image and high spatial resolution ASTER panchromatic image are carried out using brovey and HSV transformation methods. Visual and statistical assessment methods proved that HSV fusion image yields better image interpretability results compared to brovey image. It improves the spatial resolution of original FCC ratios image with acceptable spectral preservation. The present study proved the usefulness of Field-Spec spectral profiles and the processed ASTER data for discriminating different olivine basalt groups exposed at the study area.

    • Geoelectric investigation to delineate groundwater potential and recharge zones in Suki river basin, north Maharashtra

      Gautam Gupta S N Patil S T Padmane Vinit C Erram S H Mahajan

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      Suki river basin of Raver sub-division is located towards the northeastern part of Jalgaon district in Maharashtra State. The existing land use pattern of the region clearly shows that more than 60% of the area is utilized for agricultural sector. Groundwater is the major source of irrigation and domestic purposes. To assess the overall water resources development of Raver area for better environment in future, investigation was carried out with the help of geophysical indicators. Vertical electrical sounding studies were conducted at 17 stations in the study area using Wenner configuration. The study was aimed at characterizing the aquifer in the area as well as assessing its potential risk to contaminant seepage in terms of protective capacity of the overburden rock materials using Dar-Z arrouk (D-Z) parameters, viz., the transverse resistance (𝑇), longitudinal conductance (𝑆), transverse resistivity ($\rho_{t}$) and longitudinal resistivity ($\rho_{l}$). These were computed to generate the resistivity regime of freshwater-bearing formations and its movement. The central-western part of the study area reflects very good to good protective capacity rating as can be seen from the high longitudinal conductance values. The low value of the protective capacity in the eastern part is making the aquifer system in the area highly vulnerable to surface contamination. This indicates that the ground water quality may have been deteriorated in the area and borehole water samples should be randomly sampled for contaminant loads based on this analysis.

    • Partitioning and analyzing temporal variability of wash and bed material loads in a forest watershed in Iran

      Seyed Hamidreza Sadeghi Mohamad Ali Zakeri

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      The amount of transported material from a hillslope or channel, mirrors the watershed health, which needs to be quantified. However, the contribution of different sediment sources to sediment load has not been adequately studied. In this study, 24 samples of suspended load, bed load and channel material were taken bi-weekly for a period of one year from the Kojour River of the Educational and Research Forest Watershed of Tarbiat Modares University in Iran. The suspended sediment concentration and particle-size distribution were determined. The total sediment load was then partitioned into bed load, wash load and suspended bed material load based on three criteria: (i) the upper limit of 63 micron, (ii) the Einstein method, and (iii) the lower limit of sediment particles in the channel material. The results suggested a significant contribution of wash load compared to suspended bed material and bed loads ratio of 96.8, 2.65 and 0.55%, respectively. The ratio of suspended bed material load to wash load varied from 13.12% (the maximum) in winter to 11.02, 2.70 and 0.91% in autumn, spring and summer, respectively. The results also showed the effects of flow discharge on different components of sediment loads. While, the flow discharge significantly affected bed load and wash load with respective correlation coefficients (𝑟) of 0.520 and 0.464 < 𝑟 < 0.535 for three methods with significant level (𝑝) between 0.007 and 0.022. It had little influence on suspended bed material load (–0.243 < 𝑟 < 0.277 with 0.190 < 𝑝 < 0.253).

    • Evaluating the influence of spatial resolutions of DEM on watershed runoff and sediment yield using SWAT

      A Sivasena Reddy M Janga Reddy

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      Digital elevation model (DEM) of a watershed forms key basis for hydrologic modelling and its resolution plays a key role in accurate prediction of various hydrological processes. This study appraises the effect of different DEMs with varied spatial resolutions (namely TOPO 20 m, CARTO 30 m, ASTER 30 m, SRTM 90 m, GEO-AUS 500 m and USGS 1000 m) on hydrological response of watershed using Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) and applied for a case study of Kaddam watershed in India for estimating runoff and sediment yield. From the results of case study, it was observed that reach lengths, reach slopes, minimum and maximum elevations, sub-watershed areas, land use mapping areas within the sub-watershed and number of HRUs varied substantially due to DEM resolutions, and consequently resulted in a considerable variability in estimated daily runoff and sediment yields. It was also observed that, daily runoff values have increased (decreased) on low (high) rainy days respectively with coarser resolution of DEM. The daily sediment yield values from each sub-watershed decreased with coarser resolution of the DEM. The study found that the performance of SWAT model prediction was not influenced much for finer resolution DEMs up to 90 m for estimation of runoff, but it certainly influenced the estimation of sediment yields. The DEMs of TOPO 20 m and CARTO 30 m provided better estimates of sub-watershed areas, runoff and sediment yield values over other DEMs.

    • A study on the heavy rainfall event around Kedarnath area (Uttarakhand) on 16 June 2013

      M S Shekhar S Pattanayak U C Mohanty S Paul M Sravana Kumar

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      The heavy rainfall event during 14–17 June 2013 in Uttarakhand and more specifically, its occurrence around the Kedarnath region on 16 June 2013 with devastating floods and massive landslides ruined thousands of lives and properties. Increasing levels of water in two main rivers of the State, namely Alaknanda and Mandakini, resulted in the collapse of bridges, damaging and washing away of property worth many crores. In the present study, the advanced research version of the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) system (hereafter used as WRF model) is used to simulate this heavy rainfall event. The synoptic analysis at different locations such as Rudraprayag, Uttarkashi, Chamoli, Pauri, Tehri, Dehradun and adjoining districts suggested that the rainfall is about 200% more than normal. The rainfall associated with this event is well captured with the model simulation. The rainfall simulated by WRF model is in the range of 320–400 mm over Kedarnath during the actual occurrence of the event, which is in reasonably good agreement with the observed value of rainfall (325 mm) collected by Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology.

    • Numerical simulation of an intense precipitation event over Rudraprayag in the central Himalayas during 13–14 September 2012

      A Chevuturi A P Dimri S Das A Kumar D Niyogi

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      A recent heavy precipitation event on 13 September 2012 and the associated landslide on 14 September 2012 is one of the most severe calamities that occurred over the Rudraprayag region in Uttarakhand, India. This heavy precipitation event is also emblematic of the natural hazards occuring in the Himalayan region. Study objectives are to present dynamical fields associated with this event, and understand the processes related to the severe storm event, using the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF ver 3.4) model. A triple-nested WRF model is configured over the Uttarakhand region centered over Ukhimath (30° 30'N; 79° 15'E), where the heavy precipitation event is reported. Model simulation of the intense storm on 13 September 2012 is with parameterized and then with explicit convection are examined for the 3 km grid spacing domain. The event was better simulated without the consideration of convection parameterization for the innermost domain. The role of steep orography forcings is notable in rapid dynamical lifting as revealed by the positive vorticity and high reflectivity values and the intensification of the monsoonal storm. Incursion of moist air, in the lower levels, converges at the foothills of the mountains and rise along the orography to form the updraft zone of the storm. Such rapid unstable ascent leads to deep convection and increases the condensation rate of the water vapour forming clouds at a swift rate. This culminates into high intensity precipitation which leads to high amount of surface runoff over regions of susceptible geomorphology causing the landslide. Even for this intense and potentially unsual rainfall event, the processes involved appear to be the `classic' enhanced convective activity by orographic lifting of the moist air, as an important driver of the event.

    • Vertical structure of atmosphere in pre-monsoon season over Bangalore

      Geeta Agnihotri A P Dimri

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      This paper discusses the variation of dry bulb and dew point temperature (T and Td) on the days with and without thunderstorm (TSD and NTSD) over Bangalore during pre-monsoon season. The thermo-dynamic parameters like convective available potential energy (CAPE), convective inhibition energy (CIN), precipitable water content (PWC) and dynamical parameter vertical wind shear difference (VWS) are studied. The mean profiles of T, Td are generated using March–May upper air data of 1730 hrs IST from 2000–2007 for Bangalore. These are also generated on the TSD and NTSD respectively. It is found that the difference between mean profile of T for TSD/NTSD and seasonal mean is negative/positive till 200 hPa. On the other hand, the difference of the seasonal mean of Td and that of Td on the TSD/NTSD is found to be positive/negative till 300 hPa. These results are found to be significant at 99% confidence. It is found that T is less than the mean at surface till 600 hPa on TSD, whereas it is 0.5° C above average on the NTSD respectively. The difference between the Td on the TSD and mean Td is of the order of 3–5° C till 300 hPa. On the NTSD, this difference ranges between −1 and −2° C in the entire troposphere. The mean values of CAPE, CIN, PWC and VWS for Bangalore in pre-monsoon season are found to be 1324, 49.3 J/kg, 30 mm and −0.0007 s−1, respectively. These parameters were used as predictors for forecasting a thunderstorm. The critical success index and Heidke skill score were used for evaluating the forecast skill of the above parameters for 2 years from 2008 to 2009. CAPE and PWC are able to distinguish a TSD from that of a NTSD with 99% confidence. It is found that these scores are 0.44 and 0.35 for CAPE and 0.49 and 0.53 for precipitable water content.

    • Characteristics of surface wind structure of tropical cyclones over the north Indian Ocean

      M Mohapatra Monica Sharma

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      Tropical cyclone (TC) wind field monitoring and forecast are important for mariners, ships on sea and modelling group for creation of synthetic vortex, and storm surge and coastal inundation forecasting. Among others, a multi-platform satellite surface wind analysis developed by Co-operative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA), USA for the TCs are referred by India Meteorological Department for surface wind field monitoring of TC. Hence, a study has been undertaken to analyze the characteristics of surface wind distribution and hence the structure of TC based on the real time data available from CIRA during 2007–2013. The study includes 19 TCs over the Bay of Bengal (BOB) and six over Arabian Sea (AS). The maximum radial extent of winds reaching threshold values of 34(17), 50(26) and 64(33) knot (ms−1) in each of the four geographical quadrants has been segregated with respect to season of formation, basin of formation and intensity of TC for analysis. The objective is to develop a reference surface wind structure of TC and examine its validity with respect to physical processes.

      The size of outer core (34(17) knot (ms−1) wind radial extension) as well as inner core (50(26) and 64(33) knot (ms−1) wind radial extension) increases significantly with increase in intensification of TC over BOB during both pre-monsoon and post-monsoon seasons and over AS during pre-monsoon season. The outer core of winds in TCs over the BOB is asymmetric in both pre-monsoon and post-monsoon seasons and for all categories of intensity of TCs. On the other hand, the asymmetry in inner core winds is significantly less. There is also no asymmetry in radial wind extension over the AS during both the seasons, except in case of outer core wind radial extension of VSCS during pre-monsoon season. The low level environment like enhanced cross equatorial flow, lower/middle level relative humidity, vertical wind shear and proximity of TC to the land surface are the determining factors for the size and asymmetry of TCs over the NIO.

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