Application of a ground-based microwave radiometer in aviation weather forecasting in Indian Air Force

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Savitesh Mishra
Shreya Pandit
Ashish Mittal
Velampudi Sudarshan Srinivas


Time and intensity-specific very short-term forecasting or nowcasting is the biggest challenge faced by an aviation meteorologist. Ground-based microwave radiometer (MWR) has been used for nowcasting convective activity and it was established that there is a good comparison between thermodynamic parameters derived from MWR and GPS radiosonde observations, indicating that MWR observations can be used to develop techniques for nowcasting severe convective activity. In this study, efforts have been made to bring out the efficacy of MWR in nowcasting thunderstorms and fog. Firstly, the observations of MWR located at Palam, New Delhi, India have been compared with the nearest radiosonde data to ascertain the variation in respective profiles. Large differences were found in relative humidity (RH), whereas temperatures from MWR were found to be close to radiosonde observed temperature up to 3.5 km. Subsequently, the scatter plots and correlation coefficients of thermodynamic indices/parameters indicated that most of the parameters are either not correlated or have moderate correlation only for 12:00 UTC profiles. The superepoch technique of lagged composite for various thermodynamic indices/parameters to obtain a combined picture of all the thunderstorm and dense fog cases on the time series could not determine any pattern to predict thunderstorm and dense fog with lead time of 2-4 hours. MWR profile for a case of occurrence of thunderstorm was analyzed. No significant variation was observed in most of the indices (as calculated from MWR observed parameters) prior to the occurrence of thunderstorm. RH at freezing level and between 950 and 700 hPa levels were the only parameters, which increased four hours prior to the occurrence.


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