The Experiment on Rapidly Intensifying Cyclones over the Atlantic (ERICA) field study is designed to determine physical mechanisms and processes, and their critical spatial and temporal combinations, which can account for the wintertime phenomenon of explosively developing over-ocean atmospheric storms. Theoretical and numerical modeling research, during the five-year Office of Naval Research (ONR) Heavy Weather at Sea Accelerated Research Initiative ERICA program, comprises continuing effort, including the field study scheduled for 1 December 1988–28 February 1989. The ONR core field study is supplemented by the substantial participation of many other agencies and universities from the United States and Canada. Data will be obtained over the North Atlantic Ocean from Cape Hatteras to beyond Newfoundland, centered east of Cape Cod and south of Nova Scotia. The general timing and siting is chosen through consideration of historical storm occurrence data. Measurements in individual rapidly intensifying storms will be made from aircraft, buoys, and satellites, and by soundings and radars. Observations made during the pre-ERICA field test, January 1988, are discussed. This article describes the measurement objectives and the ways by which the field data will be collected.

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1 ERICA Field Director, Battelle Ocean Sciences, Richland, WA 99352.

2 ERICA Associate Field Director, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA 19104.