20 Participants From HKH Region Trained On The Weather Research And Forecast With Chemistry


A Tutorial Workshop on the use of the WRF-Chem atmospheric model was successfully conducted at the headquarters of the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) in Kathmandu, Nepal. Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) is the latest generation open-source meteorological model designed to serve both atmospheric research and operational weather forecasting needs. It was developed collaboratively by several agencies in the United States, including National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)/NCEP, NOAA/ESRL, and the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), and has been used by over 20,000 users in 130 countries. WRF-Chem is a version of WRF that simulates emission, turbulent mixing, transport, transformation, and fate of atmospheric trace gases and aerosols. It is particularly well-suited for simulating or forecasting atmospheric conditions where there are interactions between atmospheric chemistry and meteorology, such as when air pollutants affect raindrop formation or when haze affects atmospheric heating and cooling. There are 3,000 registered users of WRF-Chem worldwide.





The tutorial workshop was jointly hosted by ICIMOD and the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS), Germany, within the framework of the project ‘Sustainable Atmosphere for the Kathmandu Valley’ (SusKat). Suskat has been initiated to conduct a comprehensive assessment of various aspects of air pollution in the Himalayan region, with a focus on the Kathmandu Valley. The tutorial was delivered by four senior scientists from  NOAA, NCAR and the CIRES (Cooperative Institute for Research on Environmental Sciences), who are among the original developers of WRF and WRF-Chem.




WRF-Chem Tutorial Workshops are held twice a year in Colorado, USA.  Only a small number of international WRF-Chem tutorial workshops have been conducted elsewhere. This was the first one customized for scientists from the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region. It focused on how to set up and run the WRF (the meteorological driver) model and the WRF-Chem model over the South Asian – Himalayan domain. The aim was to build the capacity of atmospheric scientists in the region. Participants have been selected based on their related work experience and computing skills.






A total of 20 participants from the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region were trained in the workshop. “This training will provide the participants with technical knowledge and help them understand the modelling framework for using the WRF-Chem model over the HKH region,” said Dr Arun Bhakta Shrestha, Regional Programme Manager during the opening at ICIMOD. He also said that the training would open up possibilities for future collaboration among participants for work on atmospheric issues across borders. This is an important step given that the HKH region suffers from severe air pollution. UNEP’s Atmospheric Brown Cloud (ABC) project has identified the HKH foothills region as one of the ABC hotpots of the globe. Indoor and outdoor air pollution contributes to 2 million deaths in South Asia. Studies have shown how air pollution affects the hydrological cycle in the HKH region, with significant effects on monsoon patterns. Air pollution is also a key factor behind accelerating glacier melt, and has adverse impacts on agriculture, tourism and livelihoods. In this context, the workshop enabled atmospheric modelers in the region to contribute insights from a local/regional perspective, thus enhancing the existing body of knowledge on atmospheric issues such as air quality and climate change.