Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences

First Advisor

Dev Niyogi

Committee Chair

Dev Niyogi

Committee Member 1

Sundaraman Gopalakrishnan

Committee Member 2

Rao S. Govindaraju

Committee Member 3



The land surface is an important component of numerical models. The land surface models are modules that control energy partitioning, compute surface exchange coefficients and form the only physical boundary in a regional scale numerical model. Thus, an accurate representation of land surface is critical to compute surface fluxes, represent the boundary layer evolution and affect changes in weather systems. Land surface can affect landfalling tropical cyclones in two ways: (i) when the cyclone is offshore and land can influence cyclones by introducing dry (or moist) air that can weaken (or strengthen) the organized convective structure of cyclones, and (ii) land can affect the evolution of cyclones post landfall by modifying the surface heat fluxes and introducing additional surface drag. In this dissertation, the hypothesis that improved representation of land surface conditions will improve the prediction of landfalling tropical cyclones is tested. To that effect, a comprehensive review of land surface effects on tropical cyclones was undertaken and an idealized study was conducted to study the impact of antecedent soil temperature on the sustenance/reintensification of tropical cyclones over land. Rainfall verification for cyclone events over the Atlantic Ocean was conducted and a comparison study between land models—GFDL Slab and Noah, also considers the sensitivity of tropical cyclone models to land surface parameterizations. The recent adoption of Noah land model with hydrology products in HWRF offers a unique opportunity to couple a river routing model to HWRF to provide streamflow estimations from the HWRF model and this dissertation has outlined techniques to real time predict streamflow for United States with HWRF forcing.

Results from this dissertation research indicate antecedent land surface conditions can affect tropical cyclone evolution post landfall and high soil temperature and thermally diffusive soil texture of land surface are critical factors contributing to re-intensification/ sustenance of tropical cyclones. This idealized study, in addition to enabling improved understanding of the land surface effects on cyclones, has also led to a developmental effort to incorporate landfalling capability in the idealized framework of HWRF model and is available for use for the wider tropical cyclone community. The development of river routing coupled HWRF model could also be used in the operational mode to improve flooding and streamflow predictions and efforts are underway to integrate this new capability in HWRF. Study findings contribute to the understanding regarding the effects of land surface on landfalling cyclones and helps translate research products into HWRF’s operational framework for predicting tropical cyclones.