Optimized Arctic Observations For Improving Weather Forecast In The Northern Sea Route

2016-01-15T08:54:52+00:00 January 14, 2016|
As ice cover decreases in the Arctic, ocean warming will accelerate and we will likely feel the effects of an alarming increase in sea level, release of methane gas that will contribute to a warming climate, loss of habitat and livelihoods in the Arctic and extreme weather events in lower latitudes. At the same time, diminishing sea ice is resulting in a dramatic increase of economic activities, including destination and international shipping, fisheries and oil and natural gas exploration and development. (Photo credit: NOAA)

(Click to enlarge) As ice cover decreases in the Arctic, ocean warming will accelerate and we will likely feel the effects of an alarming increase in sea level, release of methane gas that will contribute to a warming climate, loss of habitat and livelihoods in the Arctic and extreme weather events in lower latitudes. At the same time, diminishing sea ice is resulting in a dramatic increase of economic activities, including destination and international shipping, fisheries and oil and natural gas exploration and development. (Photo credit: NOAA)

The current reduction in Arctic sea-ice extent causes unpredictable weather phenomena in the Arctic Ocean (strong winds, high waves, and rapid sea-ice movement associated with cyclones) also over the mid-latitudes (heat waves, severe winters, etc.). With such changing background conditions, more accurate weather forecasts are needed to safely navigate along the Northern Sea Route (NSR) and to understand the climatic linkage between the Arctic and the mid-latitudes.

(From Science Daily) — However, this is difficult because of the sparse number of atmospheric observations across the Arctic Ocean. As it is highly difficult to make additional observations in Arctic regions because of limited logistical support, a cost-benefit optimized Arctic observing network is required for improving polar predictions.

In September 2013, Dr. Jun Inoue from the National Institute of Polar Research (NIPR), Japan, and his international research team conducted joint Arctic atmospheric observations using radiosondes (instruments carried into the atmosphere by weather balloons, which measure various atmospheric parameters) on the research vessel Mirai and at meteorological stations surrounding the Arctic Ocean (Ny-Alesund, Alert, and Eureka). The team launched radiosondes eight times a day from RV Mirai (operated by NIPR and the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC)), six times a day from Ny-Alesund (operated by the Alfred Wegener Institute), and four times a day from Alert and Eureka (operated by Environment Canada). Their high daily observing frequency improved the accuracy of atmospheric data used to estimate the state of the climate and weather forecasts because much of the observed data were incorporated into the initial conditions of the weather simulations in real time.

Read the full article here: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/01/160108083454.htm