Performance evaluation of COSMO numerical weather prediction model in prediction of OCKHI: one of the rarest very severe cyclonic storms over the Arabian Sea—a case study

  • D. Bala SubrahamanyamEmail author
  • Radhika Ramachandran
  • K. Nalini
  • Freddy P. Paul
  • S. Roshny
Original Paper


In the first week of December 2017, a very severe cyclonic storm, namely “OCKHI”, made its landfall over the western coastline of the Indian peninsula. In a climatological perspective, this was one of the very rarest cyclonic storms that developed over the Comorin Sea with rapid intensification from a deep depression into a cyclonic storm within 6 h. Here, we present a case study on the performance evaluation of a regional numerical weather prediction model, Consortium for Small-scale Modelling (COSMO) during the passage of this cyclonic storm from 29 November 2017 to 6 December 2017 over the Arabian Sea by comparing the model-simulated fields against concurrent observations from the India Meteorological Department and European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts—Interim Reanalysis, respectively. Results obtained from this case study indicate good credentials to the COSMO in capturing the progression of OCKHI from its genesis as a deep depression in the early hours [0230 Indian Standard Time (IST)] of 30 November 2017 to a very severe cyclonic storm in the afternoon (1430 IST) of 01 December 2017 with a lead time of about 18 h. However, the intensity of the storm simulated by COSMO in terms of wind speed magnitudes and convective rainfall was found to be low in magnitudes as against the observations. The mean deviation between the model-simulated and observed trajectory of the storm was about 74 km for a lead time of 24 h, whereas it was below 41 km for a lead time of 18 h. The progression of OCKHI and the prevailing meteorological conditions for its intensification and subsequent weakening are also discussed in this article.


OCKHI Cyclone ERA-Interim reanalysis Arabian Sea COSMO NWP 



The COSMO details can be accessed through its website ( Space Physics Laboratory (SPL) has a scientific licence for utilisation of the COSMO in research mode, and the authors are thankful to the Deutscher Wetterdienst (DWD, German Weather Service) for providing the initial and lateral boundary conditions from the ICON global model for this study. The ERA-Interim reanalysis data fields used in this article are part of ECMWF’s Meteorological Archive and Retrieval System (MARS), which is accessible to registered users in ECMWF Member States and Cooperating States from the ECMWF Data Server at Authors duly acknowledge the ECMWF for making the reanalysis fields available in the public domain through their services. Observational cyclone track of OCKHI is reconstructed from the observational report on OCKHI by the Regional Specialised Meteorological Centre—Tropical Cyclones, New Delhi, of the India Meteorological Department (IMD, and is duly acknowledged. Spatial maps of rainfall over Kerala state are extracted from IMD, Thiruvananthapuram website, and is duly acknowledged for their services. Three authors, namely NK, FPP and RS, are supported for their doctoral work by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Research Fellowship. We are also thankful to anonymous reviewers for their constructive criticism of the manuscript which helped in improving the contents of this research article.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Space Physics Laboratory, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Department of SpaceGovernment of India, Indian Space Research OrganisationThiruvananthapuramIndia

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