Articles written in Journal of Earth System Science

    • Skills of different mesoscale models over Indian region during monsoon season: Forecast errors

      Someshwar Das Raghavendra Ashrit Gopal Raman Iyengar Saji Mohandas M Das Gupta John P George E N Rajagopal Surya Kanti Dutta

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      Performance of four mesoscale models namely,the MM5,ETA,RSM and WRF,run at NCMRWF for short range weather forecasting has been examined during monsoon-2006.Evaluation is carried out based upon comparisons between observations and day-1 and day-3 forecasts of wind,temperature,specific humidity,geopotential height,rainfall,systematic errors,root mean square errors and specific events like the monsoon depressions.

      It is very difficult to address the question of which model performs best over the Indian region? An honest answer is ‘none ’.Perhaps an ensemble approach would be the best.However, if we must make a final verdict,it can be stated that in general,(i)the WRF is able to produce best All India rainfall prediction compared to observations in the day-1 forecast and,the MM5 is able to produce best All India rainfall forecasts in day-3,but ETA and RSM are able to depict the best distribution of rainfall maxima along the west coast of India,(ii)the MM5 is able to produce least RMSE of wind and geopotential fields at most of the time,and (iii)the RSM is able to produce least errors in the day-1 forecasts of the tracks,while the ETA model produces least errors in the day-3 forecasts.

    • Mesoscale model forecast verification during monsoon 2008

      Raghavendra Ashrit Saji Mohandas

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      There have been very few mesoscale modelling studies of the Indian monsoon, with focus on the verification and intercomparison of the operational real time forecasts. With the exception of Das et al (2008), most of the studies in the literature are either the case studies of tropical cyclones and thunderstorms or the sensitivity studies involving physical parameterization or climate simulation studies. Almost all the studies are based on either National Center for Environmental Prediction (NCEP), USA, final analysis fields (NCEP FNL) or the reanalysis data used as initial and lateral boundary conditions for driving the mesoscale model.

      Here we present a mesoscale model forecast verification and intercomparison study over India involving three mesoscale models: (i) the Weather Research and Forecast (WRF) model developed at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), USA, (ii) the MM5 model developed by NCAR, and (iii) the Eta model of the NCEP, USA. The analysis is carried out for the monsoon season, June to September 2008. This study is unique since it is based entirely on the real time global model forecasts of the National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF) T254 global analysis and forecast system. Based on the evaluation and intercomparison of the mesoscale model forecasts, we recommend the best model for operational real-time forecasts over the Indian region.

      Although the forecast mean 850 hPa circulation shows realistic monsoon flow and the monsoon trough, the systematic errors over the Arabian Sea indicate an easterly bias to the north (of mean flow) and westerly bias to the south (of mean flow). This suggests that the forecasts feature a southward shift in the monsoon current. The systematic error in the 850 hPa temperature indicates that largely the WRF model forecasts feature warm bias and the MM5 model forecasts feature cold bias. Features common to all the three models include warm bias over northwest India and cold bias over southeast peninsula. The 850 hPa specific humidity forecast errors clearly show that the Eta model features dry bias mostly over the sea, while MM5 features moist bias over large part of domain. The RMSE computed at different levels clearly establish that WRF model forecasts feature least errors in the predicted free atmospheric fields. Detailed rainfall forecast verification further establishes that the WRF model forecast rainfall skill remains more or less same in day-2 and day-3 as in day-1, while the forecast skill in the MM5 and Eta models, deteriorates in day-2 and day-3 forecasts.

    • Improvements in medium range weather forecasting system of India

      V S Prasad Saji Mohandas Surya Kanti Dutta M Das Gupta G R Iyengar E N Rajagopal Swati Basu

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      Medium range weather forecasts are being generated in real time using Global Data Assimilation Forecasting System (GDAFS) at NCMRWF since 1994. The system has been continuously upgraded in terms of data usage, assimilation and forecasting system. Recently this system was upgraded to a horizontal resolution of T574 (about 22 km) with 64 levels in vertical. The assimilation scheme of this upgraded system is based on the latest Grid Statistical Interpolation (GSI) scheme and it has the provision to use most of available meteorological and oceanographic satellite datasets besides conventional meteorological observations. The new system has an improved procedure for relocating tropical cyclone to its observed position with the correct intensity. All these modifications have resulted in improvement of skill of medium range forecasts by about 1 day.

    • Validation of two gridded soil moisture products over India with in-situ observations

      C K Unnikrishnan John P George Abhishek Lodh Devesh Kumar Maurya Swapan Mallick E N Rajagopal Saji Mohandas

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      Surface level soil moisture from two gridded datasets over India are evaluated in this study. The firstone is the UK Met Office (UKMO) soil moisture analysis produced by a land data assimilation systembased on Extended Kalman Filter method (EKF), which make use of satellite observation of AdvancedScatterometer (ASCAT) soil wetness index as well as the screen level meteorological observations. Seconddataset is a satellite soil moisture product, produced by National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) usingpassive microwave Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer 2 measurements. In-situ observations ofsoil moisture from India Meteorological Department (IMD) are used for the validation of the gridded soilmoisture products. The difference between these datasets over India is minimum in the non-monsoonmonths and over agricultural regions. It is seen that the NRSC data is slightly drier (0.05%) and UKMOsoil moisture analysis is relatively wet during southwest monsoon season. Standard AMSR-2 satellitesoil moisture product is used to compare the NRSC and UKMO products. The standard AMSR-2 andUKMO values are closer in monsoon season and AMSR-2 soil moisture is higher than UKMO in allseasons. NRSC and AMSR-2 showed a correlation of 0.83 (significant at 0.01 level). The probabilitydistribution of IMD soil moisture observation peaks at 0.25 m^3/m^3, NRSC at 0.15 m^3/m^3, AMSR-2 at0.25 m3/m3 and UKMO at 0.35 m^3/m^3 during June–September period. Validation results show UKMOanalysis has better correlation with in-situ observations compared to the NRSC and AMSR-2 datasets.The seasonal variation in soil moisture is better represented in UKMO analysis. Underestimation of soilmoisture during monsoon season over India in NRSC data suggests the necessity of incorporating theactual vegetation for a better soil moisture retrieval using passive microwave sensors. Both productshave good agreement over bare soil, shrubs and grassland compared to needle leaf tree, broad leaf treeand urban land cover types.

    • Impact of Cartosat-1 orography on weather prediction in a high-resolution NCMRWF unified model

      Jisesh Sethunadh Jayakumar A Saji Mohandas Rajagopal E N Subbu Nagulu A

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      The current study reports for the first time an application of orography from the Cartosat-1 satellite digital elevation model (DEM) generated at a source resolution of 30 m in a convection-permitting numerical weather prediction model. The effects of improvements in the representation of orography have been examined in the high-resolution regional National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF) Unified Model predictions for a heavy rainfall event over the city of Chennai. A time-lagged ensemble method is employed to account for the uncertainties associated with the initial conditions, which can better forecast extreme weather events than single forecasts. The simulations reveal that the predictions based on Cartosat-1 DEM capture the local details of the rainfall distribution better than the National Aeronautics and Space Administration shuttle radar topography mission DEM-based predictions, and better represent the orographic and thermal uplifting. The spatio-temporal patterns of the simulated rainfall over Chennai are superior in Cartosat-1 DEM-based simulations mainly due to the enhanced wind convergence and moisture transport. The present study reveals the role of mountains in the enhancement of heavy rainfall events over coastal cities and highlights the potential use of high-resolution orography in the improvement of the operational weather forecasting skill of the NCMRWF Unified Model.

    • Impact of locally modified cloud microphysics over Tibetan plateau on the Indian summer monsoon


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      Tibetan Plateau (TP), a high elevation region in the Asian subcontinent, play an influential role in the Indian summer monsoon. In this numerical model study, sensitivity to the local changes in the microphysics over Tibet on the model forecast of circulation and precipitation over Indian monsoon regions is assessed. The local modification of the cloud microphysical parameters, riming, over TP is attempted. The simulation experiments have been carried out for different synoptic situations during the summer monsoon season. The riming gave differing responses in the two synoptic cases with the ice to rain conversion displaying a uniform distribution throughout the atmospheric column for the active monsoon case, whereas it is restricted up to an altitude of 8000 m in pre-monsoon case. The experiment over TP gives a 1.97% increase (0.54% reduction) in the all India rainfall for the pre-monsoon (active monsoon) case, which are mainly driven by the changes in the monsoon core zone. The maximum impact is found in Western Ghats rainfall with a 3.74% reduction (10.49% increases) for the pre-monsoon (active monsoon) case. Modulations in Tropical Easterly Jet and surface circulations in the experiments have substantial effect over the head Bay and the Western Ghats.


      $\bullet$ Tibet Plateau (TP) played a significant role in the circulation and precipitation over Indian monsoon region. In this study, the impact of locally modified microphysics parameters (riming) over TP is estimated through NCMRWF Unified Model sensitivity experiments.

      $\bullet$ Precipitation distribution in both pre-monsoon and active monsoon synoptic situation shows a different response with the riming modification.

      $\bullet$ The experiment gives a 1.97% increase (0.54% reduction) in the all India rainfall for the pre-monsoon (active monsoon) case, with maximum impact in Western Ghat region.

      $\bullet$ Current modelling approach may be useful for the different cloud observation projects.

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