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Tristan S. L’Ecuyer, Brian J. Drouin, James Anheuser, Meredith Grames, David S. Henderson, Xianglei Huang, Brian H. Kahn, Jennifer E. Kay, Boon H. Lim, Marian Mateling, Aronne Merrelli, Nathaniel B. Miller, Sharmila Padmanabhan, Colten Peterson, Nicole-Jeanne Schlegel, Mary L. White, and Yan Xie

Abstract

Earth’s climate is strongly influenced by energy deficits at the poles that emit more thermal energy than they receive from the sun. Energy exchanges between the surface and atmosphere influence the local environment while heat transport from lower latitudes drives midlatitude atmospheric and oceanic circulations. In the Arctic, in particular, local energy imbalances induce strong seasonality in surface–atmosphere heat exchanges and an acute sensitivity to forced climate variations. Despite these important local and global influences, the largest contributions to the polar atmospheric and surface energy budgets have not been fully characterized. The spectral variation of far-infrared radiation that makes up 60% of polar thermal emission has never been systematically measured impeding progress toward consensus in predicted rates of Arctic warming, sea ice decline, and ice sheet melt. Enabled by recent advances in sensor miniaturization and CubeSat technology, the Polar Radiant Energy in the Far Infrared Experiment (PREFIRE) mission will document, for the first time, the spectral, spatial, and temporal variations of polar far-infrared emission. Selected under NASA’s Earth Ventures Instrument (EVI) program, PREFIRE will utilize new lightweight, low-power, ambient temperature detectors capable of measuring at wavelengths up to 50 μm to quantify Earth’s far-infrared spectrum. Estimates of spectral surface emissivity, water vapor, cloud properties, and the atmospheric greenhouse effect derived from these measurements offer the potential to advance our understanding of the factors that modulate thermal fluxes in the cold, dry conditions characteristic of the polar regions.

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Christopher J. White, Daniela I. V. Domeisen, Nachiketa Acharya, Elijah A. Adefisan, Michael L. Anderson, Stella Aura, Ahmed A. Balogun, Douglas Bertram, Sonia Bluhm, David J. Brayshaw, Jethro Browell, Dominik Büeler, Andrew Charlton-Perez, Xandre Chourio, Isadora Christel, Caio A. S. Coelho, Michael J. DeFlorio, Luca Delle Monache, Francesca Di Giuseppe, Ana María García-Solórzano, Peter B. Gibson, Lisa Goddard, Carmen González Romero, Richard J. Graham, Robert M. Graham, Christian M. Grams, Alan Halford, W. T. Katty Huang, Kjeld Jensen, Mary Kilavi, Kamoru A. Lawal, Robert W. Lee, David MacLeod, Andrea Manrique-Suñén, Eduardo S. P. R. Martins, Carolyn J. Maxwell, William J. Merryfield, Ángel G. Muñoz, Eniola Olaniyan, George Otieno, John A. Oyedepo, Lluís Palma, Ilias G. Pechlivanidis, Diego Pons, F. Martin Ralph, Dirceu S. Reis Jr., Tomas A. Remenyi, James S. Risbey, Donald J. C. Robertson, Andrew W. Robertson, Stefan Smith, Albert Soret, Ting Sun, Martin C. Todd, Carly R. Tozer, Francisco C. Vasconcelos Jr., Ilaria Vigo, Duane E. Waliser, Fredrik Wetterhall, and Robert G. Wilson

Abstract

The subseasonal-to-seasonal (S2S) predictive timescale, encompassing lead times ranging from 2 weeks to a season, is at the frontier of forecasting science. Forecasts on this timescale provide opportunities for enhanced application-focused capabilities to complement existing weather and climate services and products. There is, however, a ‘knowledge-value’ gap, where a lack of evidence and awareness of the potential socio-economic benefits of S2S forecasts limits their wider uptake. To address this gap, here we present the first global community effort at summarizing relevant applications of S2S forecasts to guide further decision-making and support the continued development of S2S forecasts and related services. Focusing on 12 sectoral case studies spanning public health, agriculture, water resource management, renewable energy and utilities, and emergency management and response, we draw on recent advancements to explore their application and utility. These case studies mark a significant step forward in moving from potential to actual S2S forecasting applications. We show that by placing user needs at the forefront of S2S forecast development – demonstrating both skill and utility across sectors – this dialogue can be used to help promote and accelerate the awareness, value and co-generation of S2S forecasts. We also highlight that while S2S forecasts are increasingly gaining interest among users, incorporating probabilistic S2S forecasts into existing decision-making operations is not trivial. Nevertheless, S2S forecasting represents a significant opportunity to generate useful, usable and actionable forecast applications for and with users that will increasingly unlock the potential of this forecasting timescale.

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