For first time, scientists work out turbulence parameters over Himalayas

Will help improve weather forecast, flight safety

For first time, scientists work out turbulence parameters over Himalayas

Photo for representation

Vijay Mohan

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 12

Scientists at the Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES) have for the first time come up with estimates for turbulence parameters in the lower troposphere over the central Himalayan region.

The calculation of atmospheric turbulence parameters specific to the Himalayas would result in weather predictions becoming more certain and also help in preventing air traffic disasters.

While the turbulence parameters for southern India were known earlier, the same were not available for the Himalayan region and consequently some approximate values were used by scientists and meteorologists for their calculations. The parameters have now been found to be much higher over the Himalayan region that thought earlier.

Accurate and timely information of the higher values of the atmospheric turbulence parameters and understanding of time and space distribution of turbulence structure in the troposphere could help improve performance of numerical weather prediction and climate models.

Scientists and meteorologists will be able to update these values in their existing models thereby improving weather forecast. Also, precise knowledge on turbulence over this region will help in safe air traffic movements.

The researchers from ARIES used the Stratosphere Troposphere Radar (STR) for their study for determining the magnitude of refractive index structure that represents the strength of the atmospheric turbulence. They found the magnitude of atmospheric turbulence to be very large at the lower altitudes due to the mountain wave activities and presence of low-level clouds.

Secretary, Department of Science and Technology, Ashutosh Sharma said the indigenous development of the STR will further strengthen the country’s efforts to better understand the regional changes in weather and climate, particularly in the Himalayan region, which is having complex topography.

According to scientists, it is also important to model clear-air turbulence as that would aid in limiting air traffic disasters, particularly over the complex mountainous regions. Low levels of cloud are generated in a mountainous region with complex topography and because of this, stable air in this region is set into oscillations known as mountain waves and lee waves.

Characterisation of turbulence in the mountainous region is vital to understand the dynamics of mountain induced wave disturbances and other related phenomena, which has crucial role in modulating the general circulation wind patterns.

The study, undertaken by ARIES faculty members DV Phani Kumar, S Bhattacharjee, Manish Naja and a PhD student Aditya Jaiswal, has been published in the Radio Science, a quarterly peer-reviewed journal published by the American Geophysical Union and co-sponsored by the International Union of Radio Science.

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