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Development of visibility equation based on fog microphysical observations and its verification using the WRF model


The campaign mode observational program 'Winter Fog Experiment' (WiFEX) was set up at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA), New Delhi, during the winter months of 2016–17 and 2017–18. Using the WiFEX data, in this study, we examine the microphysical structure of fog formed in a polluted environment and attempt to predict visibility (Vis) using the fog index approach. The examination of eleven fog events demonstrates that the mean droplet concentration (up to 674.94 #/cm−3) and liquid water content (LWC, up to 0.29 g m−3) are high in dense fog cases (Vis < 200 m). The droplet spectrum shows bi-modal distribution and dominance of smaller droplets in the 3–7 µm range. For most fog cases, the droplet spectrum extends up to 50 µm. The mature phase of the fog depicts a relatively increased population of droplets in the higher-sized bins, highlighting the formation of larger droplets. Moreover, we found that Vis is inversely related to the liquid water content and the fog droplet number concentration. Fog index-based visibility parameterization has been developed to diagnostically compute visibility for the different categories of fog events, namely category-IIIB (CAT-IIIB) and category-IIIC (CAT-IIIC), using the meteorological variables. Out of 14 CAT-IIIB and 19 CAT-IIIC fog events, the 'WiFEX-in' could predict seven CAT-IIIB and 12 CAT-IIIC fog events, respectively. However, significant under-prediction was evident for the total CAT-IIIB fog hours and over-prediction for the total CAT-IIIC fog hours. It is found that the observed and predicted fog hour differences were related to the errors in the fog onset, dissipation, and magnitude of predicted liquid water content during CAT-IIIB and CAT-IIIC events and the same are discussed.

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We thank the Director, Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune; Director-General, India Meteorological Department, New Delhi, for their encouragement and support during WIFEX. We also thank the Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India; (MoES), and Grandhi Mallikarjuna Rao (G.M.R.) group and Airports Authority of India (A.A.I.) for providing logistic support and cooperation to experiment IGIA, New Delhi. We appreciate help from Dr Jenamani for extending help to the carryout campaign at IGIA and Prakash Rao for sharing the model output. We also thank Dr Duncan Axisa (NCAR, USA) and Dr Darrel Baumgardner (DMT, Boulder, Colorado, USA) for valuable advice on the Fog Monitor and timely help.

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Correspondence to Sandeep Wagh.

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Wagh, S., Kulkarni, R., Lonkar, P. et al. Development of visibility equation based on fog microphysical observations and its verification using the WRF model. Model. Earth Syst. Environ. 9, 195–211 (2023).

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  • Fog
  • Fog microphysics
  • LWC
  • Visibility
  • WRF
  • WiFEX