The SAARC STORM: A Coordinated Field Experiment on Severe Thunderstorm Observations and Regional Modeling over the South Asian Region

Someshwar Das National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting, Noida, India

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U. C. Mohanty School of Earth, Ocean and Climate Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India

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Ajit Tyagi Ministry of Earth Sciences, New Delhi, India

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D. R. Sikka Mausam Vihar, New Delhi, India

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P. V. Joseph Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Cochin University of Science and Technology, Kochi, India

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L. S. Rathore India Meteorological Department, New Delhi, India

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Arjumand Habib SAARC Meteorological Research Centre, and Bangladesh Meteorological Department, Dhaka, Bangladesh

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Saraju K. Baidya Department of Hydrology and Meteorology, Kathmandu, Nepal

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Kinzang Sonam Department of Hydro-Meteorological Services, Thimphu, Bhutan

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Abhijit Sarkar National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting, Noida, India

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This article describes a unique field experiment on Severe Thunderstorm Observations and Regional Modeling (STORM) jointly undertaken by eight South Asian countries. Several pilot field experiments have been conducted so far, and the results are analyzed. The field experiments will continue through 2016.

The STORM program was originally conceived for understanding the severe thunderstorms known as nor'westers that affect West Bengal and the northeastern parts of India during the pre-monsoon season. The nor'westers cause loss of human lives and damage to properties worth millions of dollars annually. Since the neighboring South Asian countries are also affected by thunderstorms, the STORM program is expanded to cover the South Asian countries under the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). It covers all the SAARC countries (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka) in three phases. Some of the science plans (monitoring the life cycle of nor'westers/severe thunderstorms and their three-dimensional structure) designed to understand the interrelationship among dynamics, cloud microphysics, and electrical properties in the thunderstorm environment are new to severe weather research. This paper describes the general setting of the field experiment and discusses preliminary results based on the pilot field data. Typical lengths and the intensity of squall lines, the speed of movements, and cloud-top temperatures and their heights are discussed based on the pilot field data. The SAARC STORM program will complement the Severe Weather Forecast Demonstration Project (SWFDP) of the WMO. It should also generate large-scale interest for fueling research among the scientific community and broaden the perspectives of operational meteorologists and researchers.

CORRESPONDING AUTHOR: Dr. Someshwar Das, National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting, A-50, Sector-62, Noida 201307, India, E-mail: somesh03@gmail.com

This article describes a unique field experiment on Severe Thunderstorm Observations and Regional Modeling (STORM) jointly undertaken by eight South Asian countries. Several pilot field experiments have been conducted so far, and the results are analyzed. The field experiments will continue through 2016.

The STORM program was originally conceived for understanding the severe thunderstorms known as nor'westers that affect West Bengal and the northeastern parts of India during the pre-monsoon season. The nor'westers cause loss of human lives and damage to properties worth millions of dollars annually. Since the neighboring South Asian countries are also affected by thunderstorms, the STORM program is expanded to cover the South Asian countries under the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). It covers all the SAARC countries (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka) in three phases. Some of the science plans (monitoring the life cycle of nor'westers/severe thunderstorms and their three-dimensional structure) designed to understand the interrelationship among dynamics, cloud microphysics, and electrical properties in the thunderstorm environment are new to severe weather research. This paper describes the general setting of the field experiment and discusses preliminary results based on the pilot field data. Typical lengths and the intensity of squall lines, the speed of movements, and cloud-top temperatures and their heights are discussed based on the pilot field data. The SAARC STORM program will complement the Severe Weather Forecast Demonstration Project (SWFDP) of the WMO. It should also generate large-scale interest for fueling research among the scientific community and broaden the perspectives of operational meteorologists and researchers.

CORRESPONDING AUTHOR: Dr. Someshwar Das, National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting, A-50, Sector-62, Noida 201307, India, E-mail: somesh03@gmail.com
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