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  • Author or Editor: Ian A. Renfrew x
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Andrew D. Elvidge and Ian A. Renfrew


The foehn effect is well known as the warming, drying, and cloud clearance experienced on the lee side of mountain ranges during “flow over” conditions. Foehn flows were first described more than a century ago when two mechanisms for this warming effect were postulated: an isentropic drawdown mechanism, where potentially warmer air from aloft is brought down adiabatically, and a latent heating and precipitation mechanism, where air cools less on ascent—owing to condensation and latent heat release—than on its dry descent on the lee side. Here, for the first time, the direct quantitative contribution of these and other foehn warming mechanisms is shown. The results suggest a new paradigm is required after it is demonstrated that a third mechanism, mechanical mixing of the foehn flow by turbulence, is significant. In fact, depending on the flow dynamics, any of the three warming mechanisms can dominate. A novel Lagrangian heat budget model, back trajectories, high-resolution numerical model output, and aircraft observations are all employed. The study focuses on a unique natural laboratory—one that allows unambiguous quantification of the leeside warming—namely, the Antarctic Peninsula and Larsen C Ice Shelf. The demonstration that three foehn warming mechanisms are important has ramifications for weather forecasting in mountainous areas and associated hazards such as ice shelf melt and wildfires.

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Ian A. Renfrew, G. W. K. Moore, Teddy R. Holt, Simon W. Chang, and Peter Guest

This report discusses the design and implementation of a specialized forecasting system that was set up to support the observational component of the Labrador Sea Deep Convection Experiment. This ongoing experiment is a multidisciplinary program of observations, theory, and modeling aimed at improving our knowledge of the deep convection process in the ocean, and the air–sea interaction that forces it. The observational part of the program was centered around a cruise of the R/V Knorr during winter 1997, as well as several complementary meteorological research flights. To aid the planning of ship and aircraft operations a specially tailored mesoscale model was run over the Labrador Sea, with the model output postprocessed and transferred to a remote field base. The benefits of using a warm-start analysis cycle in the model are discussed. The utility of the forecasting system is illustrated through a description of the flight planning process for several cases. The forecasts proved to be invaluable both in ship operations and in putting the aircraft in the right place at the right time. In writing this narrative the authors hope to encourage the use of similar forecasting systems in the support of future field programs, something that is becoming increasingly possible with the rise in real-time numerical weather prediction.

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Thomas Spengler, Ian A. Renfrew, Annick Terpstra, Michael Tjernström, James Screen, Ian M. Brooks, Andrew Carleton, Dmitry Chechin, Linling Chen, James Doyle, Igor Esau, Paul J. Hezel, Thomas Jung, Tsubasa Kohyama, Christof Lüpkes, Kelly E. McCusker, Tiina Nygård, Denis Sergeev, Matthew D. Shupe, Harald Sodemann, and Timo Vihma
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Mark A. Bourassa, Sarah T. Gille, Cecilia Bitz, David Carlson, Ivana Cerovecki, Carol Anne Clayson, Meghan F. Cronin, Will M. Drennan, Chris W. Fairall, Ross N. Hoffman, Gudrun Magnusdottir, Rachel T. Pinker, Ian A. Renfrew, Mark Serreze, Kevin Speer, Lynne D. Talley, and Gary A. Wick

Polar regions have great sensitivity to climate forcing; however, understanding of the physical processes coupling the atmosphere and ocean in these regions is relatively poor. Improving our knowledge of high-latitude surface fluxes will require close collaboration among meteorologists, oceanographers, ice physicists, and climatologists, and between observationalists and modelers, as well as new combinations of in situ measurements and satellite remote sensing. This article describes the deficiencies in our current state of knowledge about air–sea surface fluxes in high latitudes, the sensitivity of various high-latitude processes to changes in surface fluxes, and the scientific requirements for surface fluxes at high latitudes. We inventory the reasons, both logistical and physical, why existing flux products do not meet these requirements. Capturing an annual cycle in fluxes requires that instruments function through long periods of cold polar darkness, often far from support services, in situations subject to icing and extreme wave conditions. Furthermore, frequent cloud cover at high latitudes restricts the availability of surface and atmospheric data from visible and infrared (IR) wavelength satellite sensors. Recommendations are made for improving high-latitude fluxes, including 1) acquiring more in situ observations, 2) developing improved satellite-flux-observing capabilities, 3) making observations and flux products more accessible, and 4) encouraging flux intercomparisons.

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Thomas Jung, Neil D. Gordon, Peter Bauer, David H. Bromwich, Matthieu Chevallier, Jonathan J. Day, Jackie Dawson, Francisco Doblas-Reyes, Christopher Fairall, Helge F. Goessling, Marika Holland, Jun Inoue, Trond Iversen, Stefanie Klebe, Peter Lemke, Martin Losch, Alexander Makshtas, Brian Mills, Pertti Nurmi, Donald Perovich, Philip Reid, Ian A. Renfrew, Gregory Smith, Gunilla Svensson, Mikhail Tolstykh, and Qinghua Yang


The polar regions have been attracting more and more attention in recent years, fueled by the perceptible impacts of anthropogenic climate change. Polar climate change provides new opportunities, such as shorter shipping routes between Europe and East Asia, but also new risks such as the potential for industrial accidents or emergencies in ice-covered seas. Here, it is argued that environmental prediction systems for the polar regions are less developed than elsewhere. There are many reasons for this situation, including the polar regions being (historically) lower priority, with fewer in situ observations, and with numerous local physical processes that are less well represented by models. By contrasting the relative importance of different physical processes in polar and lower latitudes, the need for a dedicated polar prediction effort is illustrated. Research priorities are identified that will help to advance environmental polar prediction capabilities. Examples include an improvement of the polar observing system; the use of coupled atmosphere–sea ice–ocean models, even for short-term prediction; and insight into polar–lower-latitude linkages and their role for forecasting. Given the enormity of some of the challenges ahead, in a harsh and remote environment such as the polar regions, it is argued that rapid progress will only be possible with a coordinated international effort. More specifically, it is proposed to hold a Year of Polar Prediction (YOPP) from mid-2017 to mid-2019 in which the international research and operational forecasting communites will work together with stakeholders in a period of intensive observing, modeling, prediction, verification, user engagement, and educational activities.

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