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Kevin R. Wood and James E. Overland

A unique glimpse of the Arctic from a period before the present era of climate warming is found in the records of the first International Polar Year (IPY) of 1882–83. Inspired by the Austrian scientist and explorer Carl Weyprecht, the purpose of the IPY was to discover the fundamental laws governing global meteorological and geophysical phenomena. It was understood that new discoveries would depend upon a program of simultaneous observations that encompassed the polar regions. The collection and analysis of the first series of coordinated meteorological observations ever obtained in the Arctic was one of the principal objects of the IPY. The field program was successfully completed and a vast body of data was collected, but afterward it fell into obscurity with little analysis completed.

We have analyzed for the first time the synchronous meteorological observations recorded during the first IPY. This analysis contributes to the goal of the upcoming fourth IPY scheduled for 2007–08: to understand the climate changes currently unfolding in the Arctic/Antarctic within the context of the past. We found that surface air temperature (SAT) and sea level pressure (SLP) observed during 1882–83 were within the limits of recent climatology, but with a slight skew toward colder temperatures, and showed a wide range of variability from place to place over the course of the year, which is a feature typical of the Arctic climate today. Monthly SAT, SLP, and associated phenological anomalies were regionally coherent and consistent with patterns of variability in the atmospheric circulation such as the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). Evidence of a strong NAO signature in the observed SAT anomalies during the first IPY highlights the impact of large-scale atmospheric circulation patterns on regional climate variability in the Arctic, both today and in the past.

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John M. Bane, Clinton D. Winant, and James E. Overland

A number of observational programs have been carried out on the United States continental shelf to describe coastal-ocean circulation with emphasis on mesoscale processes. In several of these studies the atmosphere was found to play a central role in determining the coastal circulation through either local or remote forcing. Because of these results, the Coastal Physical Oceanography (CoPO) planning effort has designated three coastal air-sea interaction areas to focus on in a national program to study the physical processes on the continental shelf. These areas are shelf frontogenesis, interaction of stable layers with topography, and forcing by severe storms. The long-term objective of the air-sea interaction component of CoPO is to better understand the structure, dynamics, and evolution of the various mesoscale and synoptic-scale processes that significantly affect coastal/shelf circulation through air-sea interactions. Within this body of knowledge will be an improved quantification of the air-sea exchanges of dynamically important quantities set in the framework of mesoscale and synoptic-scale processes.

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Kevin R. Wood, Steven R. Jayne, Calvin W. Mordy, Nicholas Bond, James E. Overland, Carol Ladd, Phyllis J. Stabeno, Alexander K. Ekholm, Pelle E. Robbins, Mary-Beth Schreck, Rebecca Heim, and Janet Intrieri

Abstract

Seasonally ice-covered marginal seas are among the most difficult regions in the Arctic to study. Physical constraints imposed by the variable presence of sea ice in all stages of growth and melt make the upper water column and air–sea ice interface especially challenging to observe. At the same time, the flow of solar energy through Alaska’s marginal seas is one of the most important regulators of their weather and climate, sea ice cover, and ecosystems. The deficiency of observing systems in these areas hampers forecast services in the region and is a major contributor to large uncertainties in modeling and related climate projections. The Arctic Heat Open Science Experiment strives to fill this observation gap with an array of innovative autonomous floats and other near-real-time weather and ocean sensing systems. These capabilities allow continuous monitoring of the seasonally evolving state of the Chukchi Sea, including its heat content. Data collected by this project are distributed in near–real time on project websites and on the Global Telecommunications System (GTS), with the objectives of (i) providing timely delivery of observations for use in weather and sea ice forecasts, for model, and for reanalysis applications and (ii) supporting ongoing research activities across disciplines. This research supports improved forecast services that protect and enhance the safety and economic viability of maritime and coastal community activities in Alaska. Data are free and open to all (see www.pmel.noaa.gov/arctic-heat/).

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Nicholas A. Bond, Clifford F. Mass, Bradley F. Smull, Robert A. Houze, Ming-Jen Yang, Brian A. Colle, Scott A. Braun, M. A. Shapiro, Bradley R. Colman, Paul J. Neiman, James E. Overland, William D. Neff, and James D. Doyle

The Coastal Observation and Simulation with Topography (COAST) program has examined the interaction of both steady-state and transient cool-season synoptic features, such as fronts and cyclones, with the coastal terrain of western North America. Its objectives include better understanding and forecasting of landfalling weather systems and, in particular, the modification and creation of mesoscale structures by coastal orography. In addition, COAST has placed considerable emphasis on the evaluation of mesoscale models in coastal terrain. These goals have been addressed through case studies of storm and frontal landfall along the Pacific Northwest coast using special field observations from a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration WP-3D research aircraft and simulations from high-resolution numerical models. The field work was conducted during December 1993 and December 1995. Active weather conditions encompassing a variety of synoptic situations were sampled. This article presents an overview of the program as well as highlights from a sample of completed and ongoing case studies.

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J. K. Andersen, Liss M. Andreassen, Emily H. Baker, Thomas J. Ballinger, Logan T. Berner, Germar H. Bernhard, Uma S. Bhatt, Jarle W. Bjerke, Jason E. Box, L. Britt, R. Brown, David Burgess, John Cappelen, Hanne H. Christiansen, B. Decharme, C. Derksen, D. S. Drozdov, Howard E. Epstein, L. M. Farquharson, Sinead L. Farrell, Robert S. Fausto, Xavier Fettweis, Vitali E. Fioletov, Bruce C. Forbes, Gerald V. Frost, Sebastian Gerland, Scott J. Goetz, Jens-Uwe Grooß, Edward Hanna, Inger Hanssen-Bauer, Stefan Hendricks, Iolanda Ialongo, K. Isaksen, Bjørn Johnsen, L. Kaleschke, A. L. Kholodov, Seong-Joong Kim, Jack Kohler, Zachary Labe, Carol Ladd, Kaisa Lakkala, Mark J. Lara, Bryant Loomis, Bartłomiej Luks, K. Luojus, Matthew J. Macander, G. V. Malkova, Kenneth D. Mankoff, Gloria L. Manney, J. M. Marsh, Walt Meier, Twila A. Moon, Thomas Mote, L. Mudryk, F. J. Mueter, Rolf Müller, K. E. Nyland, Shad O’Neel, James E. Overland, Don Perovich, Gareth K. Phoenix, Martha K. Raynolds, C. H. Reijmer, Robert Ricker, Vladimir E. Romanovsky, E. A. G. Schuur, Martin Sharp, Nikolai I. Shiklomanov, C. J. P. P. Smeets, Sharon L. Smith, Dimitri A. Streletskiy, Marco Tedesco, Richard L. Thoman, J. T. Thorson, X. Tian-Kunze, Mary-Louise Timmermans, Hans Tømmervik, Mark Tschudi, Dirk van As, R. S. W. van de Wal, Donald A. Walker, John E. Walsh, Muyin Wang, Melinda Webster, Øyvind Winton, Gabriel J. Wolken, K. Wood, Bert Wouters, and S. Zador
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