Nowcasting severe convective activity over southeast India using ground-based microwave radiometer observations

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Abstract

[1] In the present study, the feasibility of nowcasting convective activity is examined by using thermodynamic indices derived from the ground-based microwave radiometer (MWR) observations located at a tropical station, Gadanki (13.5°N, 79.2°E). There is a good comparison between thermodynamic parameters derived from MWR and colocated GPS radiosonde observations, indicating that MWR observations can be used to develop techniques for nowcasting severe convective activity. Using MWR observations, a nowcasting technique was developed with the data of 26 thunderstorm cases observed at Gadanki. The analysis showed that there are sharp changes in some thermodynamic indices, such as the K index, the humidity index, precipitable water content, the stability index, and equivalent potential temperature lapse rates, about 2–4 h before the occurrence of thunderstorm. A superepoch analysis was made to examine the composite temporal variations of the thermodynamic indices associated with the occurrence of thunderstorms. The superepoch analysis revealed that 2–4 h prior to the storm occurrence, appreciable variations in many parameters are observed, suggesting thermodynamic evolution of the boundary layer convective instability. It is further demonstrated that by monitoring these variations it is possible to predict the ensuing thunderstorm activity over the region at least 2 h in advance. The association between the temporal evolution of thermodynamic indices and convective activity has been tested for the independent case of nine thunderstorms. The present results suggest that ground-based MWR observations can be used effectively to predict the occurrence of thunderstorms at least 2 h in advance.

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