Regional climate model application at subgrid scale on Indian winter monsoon over the western Himalayas


  • A. P. Dimri,

    Corresponding author
    • School of Environmental Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India
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    • Hydrospheric Atmospheric Research Center, Nagoya University, Nagoya, Japan.

  • D. Niyogi

    1. Departments of Agronomy and Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA
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Correspondence to: A. P. Dimri, School of Environmental Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University New Delhi, 110067 India. E-mail:


The western Himalayas (WH) is characterized by heterogeneous land surface characteristics and topography. During winter (December, January, and February—DJF), eastward moving low-pressure synoptic weather systems, called Western Disturbances (WDs) in Indian parlance, cause the majority of the precipitation mostly in the form of snow. The interplay between land surface/topography and WDs greatly controls precipitation distribution over the region. This study seeks to evaluate this using a mosaic-type parameterization of subgrid-scale topography and land use (sub-BATS) for regional climate simulation with a regional climate model (RegCM3). The model coarse grid cell size in the control simulation is 60 km while the subgrid cell size is 10 km. This study compares two 22 year simulations (1980–2001) during winter (DJF). The first simulation is without (CONT) and the second is with (SUB) the fine scale subgrid scheme. Representing the fine scale processes using the subgrid scheme SUB experiment simulates reduced precipitation by approximately 2 mm d−1 with comparison to CONT experiment. This estimation of reduced and closer to the corresponding observed precipitation is important for regional water budget over the WH which is primarily governed by topographic and land surface disaggregation. Validation with corresponding observations over similar elevations shows that SUB displays an improvement over CONT experiment. This relevant decrease of precipitation in SUB using disaggregation-reaggregation methodology for initial model input fields in subBATS scheme is due to better representation of the WH topography. In case of temperature, SUB experiment displays colder bias (∼2–4 °C) than the CONT over the Himalayas. This preliminary finding is important for studying regional water balance, snow melt accumulation in following summer period.