• Thara Prabhakaran

      Articles written in Journal of Earth System Science

    • Analysing the characteristic features of a pre-monsoon thunderstorm event over Pune, India, using ground-based observations and WRF model

      Leena P P Pandithurai G Gayatri K Murugavel P Ruchith R D Sakharam S Dani K K Chetana Patil Dharmaraj T Patil M N Thara Prabhakaran

      More Details Abstract Fulltext PDF

      In the present work, the characteristic features and factors contributed to the formation of a typical pre-monsoon thunderstorm that occurred over Pune has been studied using various ground-based observations, such as microwave radiometer profiler, wind lidar and surface eddy covariance flux measurements along with weather research and forecast (WRF) model. Initially, the thermodynamic state of atmosphere, variation in fluxes, as well as convective updrafts and downdrafts associated with the thunderstorm event, has been studied using ground-based observations. Thermodynamic indices derived from ground-based microwave radiometer observations showed significant variation before, during and after the development of thunderstorm such as smaller humidity index and higher values of total total index and K-index during the storm. Convective available potential energy (CAPE) and equivalent potential temperature have also shown an increase prior to the event. It is noted that sensible heat flux is higher than latent heat flux before the initiation of storm, however, the latent heat flux increased significantly during the storm. Wind lidar-derived vertical velocities showed strong variation i.e., exceeding 3 m s$^{-1}$ during the event. Signatures of veering effect indicated the transport of moisture to higher levels was noticed from the altitude variability of wind vector. Ground observations suggested strong crosswind wind shear, convergence of moisture that originated at elevated levels in the boundary layer and enhancement of moist static energy in the elevated layer above the surface was pre-storm characteristics that conducive for the storm enhancement. Secondly, the capabilities of a WRF model in simulating the storm development, structure and evolution have been verified. The WRF model was able to recreate major features of the environment in which the storm was developed. The model output was compared with ground observations, which showed that the model has well captured the sensible heat and friction velocity as that of observation compared to mixing ratio and latent heat. It is observed that the water vapour variation in the model is having a lag, about an hour, with that of observations. The detailed analysis of model output did not show triggering of a thunderstorm as noted in the observation at the same location, which may be probably due to model bias in the moisture transport or moisture convergence was weaker in the model.

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