Climate Dynamics

, Volume 50, Issue 9–10, pp 3571–3594 | Cite as

Characteristics of precipitating monsoon clouds over rain-shadow and drought-hit regions of India using radar

  • S. B. Morwal
  • S. G. Narkhedkar
  • B. Padmakumari
  • R. S. Maheskumar
  • J. R. Kulkarni


C-band radars were installed at Baramati and Shegaon as a part of operational cloud seeding program of Maharashtra State in the monsoon season (June–September) 2004. These provided first time a unique opportunity to study (1) characteristics of precipitating monsoon clouds (2) convection and (3) number of seedable clouds over Indian meteorological subdivisions of Madhya Maharashtra (rain-shadow) and Vidarbha (drought-hit). The monsoon season is divided into active and break periods. The cloud characteristics studied are: diurnal variation, cloud top heights and durations. Diurnal variation of cloud frequency shows maximum in the afternoon hours (10–11 UTC) and minimum in the early morning hours (3–4 UTC) in both the periods. Cloud tops show trimodal distributions with modes at 2–3, 8–9 and above 9 km. Mean cloud duration is 55 min. Congestus has been found prominent cloud type (65%) with mean top height of 6.76 km. Frequency of cumulonimbus clouds is found higher in the break periods. Cloud scale is taken as a metric for characterization of convection. Maximum frequency of cloud scale is found at C scale (mesoscale: area 100–1000 km2). Mesoscale Convective System has been found dominating convection type. The convection over the area has been shown to be hybrid type, consisting of basic oceanic type modulated by land convection. Convective clouds having maximum reflectivities between 25 and 35 dBZ, suitable for hygroscopic and glaciogenic seeding, are found in a large number. Understanding of characteristics of clouds and convection is useful for the diagnostic and precipitation enhancement studies over the rain-shadow/drought-hit regions.


Characteristics of clouds and convection using radar Rain-shadow region of Madhya Maharashtra Drought-hit region of Vidarbha Summer monsoon season Active and break periods Thermodynamical parameters Large scale dynamical processes Statistics of seedable convective clouds 



The authors are thankful to Director, IITM and Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), Govt. of India for support and continuous encouragement. Dr. R. Vijayakumar, Dr. J. R. Kulkarni, Mr. V. R. Mujumdar (Retired Scientists of IITM) and Mr. K. K. Dani, IITM were part of the Rain Enhancement Program of State Government of Maharashtra, India. The authors are also thankful to Dr. R. Vijayakumar, Mr. V. R. Mujumdar and Mr. K. K. Dani. The data sources University of Wyoming ( for upper air sounding data and NCEP/NCAR ( for dynamic parameters are acknowledged herewith. The authors gratefully acknowledge ECMWF for providing the ERA interim, Atmospheric model data ( The radar data can be shared with interested researchers through collaborative work ( The authors are thankful to the anonymous reviewers for the very fruitful comments/suggestions which were very useful to improve the quality of the paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. B. Morwal
    • 1
  • S. G. Narkhedkar
    • 1
  • B. Padmakumari
    • 1
  • R. S. Maheskumar
    • 1
  • J. R. Kulkarni
    • 1
  1. 1.Indian Institute of Tropical MeteorologyPuneIndia

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