Performance of numerical weather prediction models in predicting track of recurving cyclone Vayu over Arabian Sea during June 2019

Abstract

A tropical cyclone (TC) Vayu developed over the Arabian Sea during June, 2019. It followed a northward track from southeast Arabian Sea to northeast Arabian Sea close to Gujarat coast during 10–12 June 2019 as a very severe cyclonic storm. It skirted south Gujarat coast by recurving west-northwestwards during 13th–14th June and again made a northeastward recurvature on 16th June towards Gujarat coast. However, it weakened over Sea on 17th. There was large divergence among various models in predicting the track of TC Vayu leading to over warning for Gujarat state and also delay in dewarning leading to evacuation of people from coastal region. Hence, a study has thus been taken up to analyze the performance of various numerical weather prediction (NWP) models in forecasting the track of TC Vayu so as to find out the reason for above limitation of NWP models. Results suggest that there is a need to relook into the existing multi-model ensemble (MME) technique which outperforms individual models in track forecasting. There is also a need to improve the individual deterministic model guidance so as to suitably represent the interaction between mid-latitude westerlies with the TC and steering anticyclone by improving the initial and boundary conditions through augmented direct and remotely sensed observations over the Arabian Sea and their assimilation in NWP models.

Research highlights

  1. 1.

    The multiple interactions among the wind fields of TC Vayu, middle latitude westerlies and anticyclones over central India & Arabian Peninsula led to the unique track of Vayu with two recurvatures in its life cycle.

  2. 2.

    The prediction of time and point of recurvature in the track of TCs is still a challenge for the NWP models and hence the operational forecast, as models could not represent the interaction of mid-latitude westerlies with the TC and steering anticyclone over either side of the TC.

  3. 3.

    Comparing the average track forecast errors of different models and multi-model ensemble (MME) for the recurving TCs during 2009–2019, the MME shows minimum average track forecast error. However, the consistency in MME based track forecast decreases with increase in lead period.

  4. 4.

    There is a need to look into the existing MME and improve it by re-defining the best constituent members and improving the performance of individual models through augmentation of direct & remotely sensed observations, data assimilation and the physical processes in the model.

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Acknowledgement

The authors are thankful to Cyclone Warning Division and NWP Division of IMD for providing the required data to carry out this study.

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Authors

Contributions

M Mohapatra: Conceptualization, methodology, supervision, mentoring. Krishna Mishra: Investigation, data curation, writing, visualization, validation. Monica Sharma: Formatting, preparation of tables and figures, reviewing and editing.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Krishna Mishra.

Additional information

Communicated by Kavirajan Rajendran

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Mishra, K., Sharma, M. & Mohapatra, M. Performance of numerical weather prediction models in predicting track of recurving cyclone Vayu over Arabian Sea during June 2019. J Earth Syst Sci 130, 25 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12040-020-01533-7

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Keywords

  • Tropical cyclone
  • track
  • recurvature
  • steering
  • NWP model
  • MME