99 Monitoring Intense Thunderstorms in the Hindu-Kush Himalayan Region

Wednesday, 9 November 2016
Broadway Rooms (Hilton Portland )
Patrick N. Gatlin, NASA/MSFC, Huntsville, AL; and D. J. Cecil, W. A. Petersen, J. L. Case, and J. R. Bell

Some of the most intense storms on Earth affect the Hindu-Kush Himalayan (HKH) region.  Violent tornadoes, damaging hail and windstorms have caused thousands of lives to be lost and significantly impacted local economies in Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Pakistan.  However, most of the National Hydrologic and Meteorological Services (NHMSs) in these countries of the HKH region have very little, if any, guidance on when, where and what types of high impact weather are possible over the next 1 to 2 days.  Hence efforts must be undertaken to enhance the capabilities of early warning services that can help reduce the impact of such disastrous weather events in the HKH region.  Through NASA’s SERVIR project, we are developing an innovative numerical modeling-based decision support tool that integrates Earth observing satellite data to facilitate assessments of high impact weather potential and its effects in the HKH region.  This toolkit consists of an innovative triggered, ensemble modeling system that provides a means for assessing the probability of high impact weather as well as the expected storm type (e.g., squall line/Nor’wester, supercell, microbursts, etc.).  This convection-resolving model plug-in operates as a phenomena-based “nest” within a coarser resolution regional model—it will be automatically triggered over the domain where the predicted environmental conditions are most favorable for high impact weather.  To build forecast confidence and situational awareness, we also utilize satellite observations from the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission constellation of satellites.  The measurements available from the GPM constellation originate from a suite of passive microwave radiometers referenced to and intercalibrated by the GPM Core satellite.  In turn, the GPM Core carries a 13-channel GPM Microwave Imager (GMI) together with a dual frequency precipitation radar (DPR), that collectively enable the detection of damaging hail and provide the ability to probe a storm to unveil its vertical structure allowing us to estimate its intensity and assess potential impacts.  Since satellite-based estimates of storm intensity may not always reveal the exact nature and extent of damage, we also take the unique approach of employing satellite-based land imagery of varying resolutions (e.g., MODIS, Landsat, Sentinel-2) to generate high impact weather damage assessment products to serve in this aspect.  Collectively, these three products—high impact weather outlook, intense storm identification, and damage assessment—form the nexus of a high impact weather assessment toolkit that will help build the early warning capabilities of NHMSs and facilitate timely disaster response by partners throughout the HKH region without significant investments on behalf of the region's respective government agencies.
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