Natural Hazards

, Volume 61, Issue 3, pp 893–910 | Cite as

Location-specific weather predictions for Sriharikota (13.72°N, 80.22°E) through numerical atmospheric models during satellite launch campaigns

  • D. Bala SubrahamanyamEmail author
  • Radhika Ramachandran
  • S. Indira Rani
  • S. Sijikumar
  • T. J. Anurose
  • Asish Kumar Ghosh
Original Paper


Accurate knowledge of different meteorological parameters over a launch site is very crucial for efficient management of satellite launch operations. Local weather over the Indian satellite launch site located at Sriharikota High Altitude Range (SHAR: 13.72°N, 80.22°E) is very much dependent on the atmospheric circulation prevailing over the Bay of Bengal oceanic region and topography-induced convective activities. With a view to providing severe weather threat prediction in terms of launch commit criteria (LCC), two numerical atmospheric models namely high-resolution regional model (HRM) and advanced regional prediction system (ARPS) are made operational over SHAR in a synoptic and mesoscale domain, respectively. In the present research article, two launch campaigns through Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C11 and PSLV-C12) when contrasting weather conditions prevailed over the launch site are chosen for demonstration of potential of two models in providing location-specific short-to-medium-range weather predictions meeting the needs of LCC. In the case of PSLV-C11 campaign, when the launch site underwent frequent thundershower-associated rainfall, ARPS model–derived meteorological fields were effectively used in prediction of probability of the wet spells. On the other hand, Bay of Bengal underwent severe cyclonic storm during PSLV-C12 campaign, and its formation was reasonable captured through HRM simulations. It is concluded that a combination of HRM and ARPS provide reliable short-to-medium-range weather prediction over SHAR, which has got profound importance in launch-related activities.


Advanced regional prediction system (ARPS) Chandrayaan High-resolution regional model (HRM) Numerical weather prediction (NWP) Launch commit criteria (LCC) Nowcasting Thunderstorms 



We greatly acknowledge the support and inspiring guidance rendered by Dr. K. Krishna Moorthy, Director, SPL and Prof. R. Sridharan, Former Director, SPL. Special words of thanks go to Mr. Thomas C. Babu of AERO Parallel Computing Facility, VSSC for his help in maintenance of LINUX Cluster System at SPL, where the HRM and ARPS model simulations were carried out. We wish to thank Dr. Detlev Majewski, Deutscher Wetterdienst, Germany and his colleagues for providing continuous support to us in smooth functioning of HRM. The NCEP-FNL reanalysis data for this study are from the Research Data Archive (RDA) which is maintained by the Computational and Information Systems Laboratory (CISL) at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). NCAR is sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The original data are available from the RDA ( in data set number ds083.2. KALPANA Satellite images over the Indian subcontinent are downloaded from the Indian Meteorological Department ( and we duly acknowledge their services. Automatic Weather Station data for SHAR are made available to us through ISRO’s PRWONAM Project (, and we acknowledge all the members of the project for their cooperation. One of the authors TJA would like to thank ISRO Research Fellowship for her PhD work.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. Bala Subrahamanyam
    • 1
    Email author
  • Radhika Ramachandran
    • 2
  • S. Indira Rani
    • 3
  • S. Sijikumar
    • 1
  • T. J. Anurose
    • 1
  • Asish Kumar Ghosh
    • 4
  1. 1.Space Physics Laboratory, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Department of Space, Government of IndiaIndian Space Research OrganizationThiruvananthapuramIndia
  2. 2.ISRO Technical Liaison UnitEmbassy of IndiaParisFrance
  3. 3.National Centre for Medium Range Weather ForecastingMinistry of Earth Sciences, Government of IndiaNoidaIndia
  4. 4.Meterological FacilitySatish Dhawan Space Centre, SHARSriharikotaIndia

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