Natural Hazards

, Volume 58, Issue 3, pp 929–944 | Cite as

Impact of satellite observed microwave SST on the simulation of tropical cyclones

  • Vishal Bongirwar
  • V. Rakesh
  • C. M. Kishtawal
  • P. C. Joshi
Original Paper


The impact of realistic representation of sea surface temperature (SST) on the numerical simulation of track and intensity of tropical cyclones formed over the north Indian Ocean is studied using the Weather Research and Forecast (WRF) model. We have selected two intense tropical cyclones formed over the Bay of Bengal for studying the SST impact. Two different sets of SSTs were used in this study: one from TRMM Microwave Imager (TMI) satellite and other is the weekly averaged Reynold’s SST analysis from National Center for Environmental Prediction (NCEP). WRF simulations were conducted using the Reynold’s and TMI SST as model boundary condition for the two cyclone cases selected. The TMI SST which has a better temporal and spatial resolution showed sharper gradient when compared to the Reynold’s SST. The use of TMI SST improved the WRF cyclone intensity prediction when compared to that using Reynold’s SST for both the cases studied. The improvements in intensity were mainly due to the improved prediction of surface latent and sensible heat fluxes. The use of TMI SST in place of Reynold’s SST improved cyclone track prediction for Orissa super cyclone but slightly degraded track prediction for cyclone Mala. The present modeling study supports the well established notion that the horizontal SST gradient is one of the major driving forces for the intensification and movement of tropical cyclones over the Indian Ocean.


Cyclone TMI SST Modeling Intensity Track 



WRF is made publicly available and supported by the Mesoscale and Microscale Meteorology division at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). Their dedication and hard work is gratefully acknowledged. The authors would like to acknowledge the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) for making analysis data available at their site. The TMI data were obtained from The authors thank the anonymous reviewers for their critical and insightful comments/suggestions, which were helpful in substantially improving the content and quality of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vishal Bongirwar
    • 1
  • V. Rakesh
    • 2
  • C. M. Kishtawal
    • 3
  • P. C. Joshi
    • 3
  1. 1.Indian Institute of Science (IISc)BangaloreIndia
  2. 2.CSIR Center for Mathematical Modeling and Computer Simulation (CMMACS)BangaloreIndia
  3. 3.Space Application Centre (SAC)ISROAhmedabadIndia

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