Natural Hazards

, Volume 71, Issue 1, pp 639–658 | Cite as

Impact of variational assimilation technique on simulation of a heavy rainfall event over Pune, India

  • V. Yesubabu
  • Sahidul Islam
  • D. R. Sikka
  • Akshara Kaginalkar
  • Sagar Kashid
  • A. K. Srivastava
Original Paper


Prediction of heavy rainfall events due to severe convective storms in terms of their spatial and temporal scales is a challenging task for an operational forecaster. The present study is about a record-breaking heavy rainfall event observed in Pune (18°31′N, 73°55′E) on October 4, 2010. The day witnessed highest 24-h accumulated precipitation of 181.3 mm and caused flash floods in the city. The WRF model-based real-time weather system, operating daily at Centre for Development of Advanced Computing using PARAM Yuva supercomputer showed the signature of this convective event 4-h before, but failed to capture the actual peak rainfall and its location with reference to the city’s observational network. To investigate further, five numerical experiments were conducted to check the impact of assimilation of observations in the WRF model forecast. First, a control experiment was conducted with initialization using National Centre for Environmental Prediction (NCEP)’s Global Forecast System 0.5° data, while surface observational data from NCEP Prepbufr system were assimilated in the second experiment (VARSFC). In the third experiment (VARAMV), NCEP Prepbufr atmospheric motion vectors were assimilated. Fourth experiment (VARPRO) was assimilated with conventional soundings data, and all the available NCEP Prepbufr observations were assimilated in the fifth experiment (VARALL). Model runs were compared with observations from automated weather stations (AWS), synoptic charts of Indian Meteorological Department (IMD). Comparison of 24-h accumulated rainfall with IMD AWS 24-h gridded data showed that the fifth experiment (VARALL) produced better picture of heavy rainfall, maximum up to 251 mm/day toward the southern side, 31 km away from Pune’s IMD observatory. It was noticed that the effect of soundings observations experiment (VARPRO) caused heavy precipitation of 210 mm toward the southern side 49 km away from Pune. The wind analysis at 850 and 200 hPa indicated that the surface and atmospheric motion vector observations (VARAMV) helped in shifting its peak rainfall toward Pune, IMD observatory by 18 km, though VARALL over-predicted rainfall by 60 mm than the observed.


WRF model Data assimilation Heavy rainfall Convective storm 



This work is carried out as a part of C-DAC core grant. All the experiments are carried out using PARAM Yuva high-performance computer of C-DAC. Authors sincerely thank National PARAM supercomputing facility of C-DAC for providing the computational facility and support. The WRF-ARW model was obtained from NCAR ( The NCEP GFS 0.5° data obtained from NCEP (, NOMADS Server. CloudSat pictures taken from NASA GES DISK and TRMM data are downloaded from Authors thank IMD Pune for providing synoptic charts, AWS Data and IDWR reports. Authors wish to acknowledge C-DAC management for the encouragement and support. The help and suggestions provided by our colleagues at C-DAC are thankfully acknowledged. Authors thank two anonymous reviewers for comments and suggestions in improving the original manuscript.

Supplementary material

11069_2013_933_MOESM1_ESM.bmp (3.5 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (BMP 3600 kb)
11069_2013_933_MOESM2_ESM.gif (2.7 mb)
Supplementary material 2 (GIF 2727 kb)
11069_2013_933_MOESM3_ESM.jpg (6 mb)
Supplementary material 3 (JPEG 6126 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • V. Yesubabu
    • 1
  • Sahidul Islam
    • 1
  • D. R. Sikka
    • 2
  • Akshara Kaginalkar
    • 1
  • Sagar Kashid
    • 1
  • A. K. Srivastava
    • 3
  1. 1.Computational Earth Sciences Group, Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC)Pune UniversityPuneIndia
  2. 2.New DelhiIndia
  3. 3.India Meteorological DepartmentShivajinagar, PuneIndia

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