Articles written in Journal of Earth System Science
Volume 124 Issue 7 October 2015 pp 1545-1561
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.