, Volume 78, Issue 3-4, pp 215-225

Diurnal variation of deep cloud systems over the Indian region using INSAT-1B pixel data

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Among the various time scales of deep clouds, diurnal variation is found to be prominent over the tropics. The present study examines the diurnal variation in the number and area cover associated with the cloud systems over the tropical Indian region using INSAT-1B pixel data. Three periods, namely, April–May 1988, July–August 1988, and January–February 1989 are considered. The dependence of diurnal characteristics on the temperature threshold, life duration and size of cloud systems, and land-sea contrast has been explored. The diurnal characteristics of cloud systems living for more than a day have been studied for the first time. It is shown that cloud systems exhibit strong diurnal dependence at the coldest temperature threshold used (201 K). Also, the diurnal variation is more for larger cloud systems and for longer living systems. In general, more deep cloud activity is found from the satellite data during the pre-dawn and early morning hours. Precipitation is enhanced during morning to early noon hours. Further, using data from a recent field experiment, clear evidence of diurnal variation in precipitation over the Bay of Bengal is also presented.

Received March 20, 2000/Revised October 3, 2000