Forecasts of fog events in northern India dramatically improve when weather prediction models include irrigation effects

Smith, Daniel K. E. ORCID:, Reka, Srinivas, Dorling, Stephen R., Ross, Andrew N., Renfrew, Ian A. ORCID:, Jayakumar, A., Anurose, T. J., Parde, Avinash N., Ghude, Sachin D. and Rumbold, Heather (2024) Forecasts of fog events in northern India dramatically improve when weather prediction models include irrigation effects. Communications Earth & Environment, 5. ISSN 2662-4435

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Dense wintertime fog regularly impacts Delhi, severely affecting road and rail transport, aviation and human health. Recent decades have seen an unexplained increase in fog events over northern India, coincident with a steep rise in wintertime irrigation associated with the introduction of double-cropping. Accurate fog forecasting is challenging due to a high sensitivity to numerous processes across many scales, and uncertainties in representing some of these in state-of-the-art numerical weather prediction models. Here we show fog event simulations over northern India with and without irrigation, revealing that irrigation counteracts a common model dry bias, dramatically improving the simulation of fog. Evaluation against satellite products and surface measurements reveals a better spatial extent and temporal evolution of the simulated fog events. Increased use of irrigation over northern India in winter provides a plausible explanation for the observed upward trend in fog events, highlighting the critical need for optimisation of irrigation practices.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Data availability: WiFEX campaign data are stored at the data repository at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology and are publicly available as per Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India data sharing guidelines ( The SYNOP data are available from the Centre for Environmental Data Archive; The CCI land use land cover dataset is available through the Climate Data Store;!/dataset/satellite-land-cover?tab=overview. The daily gridded rainfall dataset at a spatial resolution of 0.25° × 0.25° over India is publicly available at The INSAT-3D FOG product is available upon request for research purposes only from the Meteorological and Oceanographic Satellite Data Archival Centre ( The global irrigation water use dataset at a spatial resolution of 0.5° × 0.5° is also publicly available at The irrigated area data underpinning Fig. 1d is available at Land cover data71 can be found at and!/dataset/satellite-land-cover?tab=overview. Further technical details regarding the satellite fog / low cloud product are available at the following link: 10.19038/SAC/10/3DIMG_L2C_FOG, MOSDAC. Code availability: Access to the Unified Model (UM) code is managed through the Met Office Science Repository Service ( Interested users can contact for advice stating affiliate institution. Funding information: This work was conducted through the Weather and Climate Science for Service Partnership (WCSSP) India, a collaborative initiative between the Met Office, supported by the UK Government’s Newton Fund, and the Indian Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES).
Uncontrolled Keywords: environmental science(all),earth and planetary sciences(all),4* ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/2300
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
University of East Anglia Research Groups/Centres > Theme - ClimateUEA
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Science > Research Groups > Centre for Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences
Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Centres > Water Security Research Centre
Related URLs:
Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 25 Mar 2024 13:30
Last Modified: 03 May 2024 21:31
DOI: 10.1038/s43247-024-01314-w


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