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  • Author or Editor: H. Ólafsson x
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J. E. Kristjánsson, I. Barstad, T. Aspelien, I. Føre, Ø. Godøy, Ø. Hov, E. Irvine, T. Iversen, E. Kolstad, T. E. Nordeng, H. McInnes, R. Randriamampianina, J. Reuder, Ø. Saetra, M. Shapiro, T. Spengler, and H. Ólafsson

From a weather forecasting perspective, the Arctic poses particular challenges for mainly two reasons: 1) The observational data are sparse and 2) the weather phenomena responsible for severe weather, such as polar lows, Arctic fronts, and orographic influences on airflow, are poorly resolved and described by the operational numerical weather prediction (NWP) models. The Norwegian International Polar Year (IPY)– The Observing System Research and Predictability Experiment (THORPEX) project (2007–10) sought to significantly improve weather forecasts of these phenomena through a combined modeling and observational effort. The crux of the observational effort was a 3-week international field campaign out of northern Norway in early 2008, combining airborne and surface-based observations. The main platform of the field campaign was the Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR) research aircraft Falcon, equipped with lidar systems for profiling of aerosols, humidity, and wind, in addition to in situ measurements and dropsondes. A total of 12 missions were flown, yielding detailed observations of polar lows, Arctic fronts, and orographic low-level jets near Spitsbergen, the coast of northern Norway, and the east coast of Greenland. The lidar systems enabled exceptionally detailed measurements of orographic jets caused by the orography of Spitsbergen. Two major polar low developments over the Norwegian Sea were captured during the campaign. In the first polar low case, three f lights were carried out, providing a first-ever probing of the full life cycle of a polar low. Targeting observations by the aircraft in sensitive areas led to improvements in predicted track and intensity of the polar low. Here highlights from the field campaign, as well as from ongoing follow-up investigations, are presented. Highlights from the development of a new limitedarea model ensemble prediction system for the Arctic, as well as an exploitation of new satellite data [Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer (IASI) data], are also included.

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I. A. Renfrew, G. W. K. Moore, J. E. Kristjánsson, H. Ólafsson, S. L. Gray, G. N. Petersen, K. Bovis, P. R. A. Brown, I. Føre, T. Haine, C. Hay, E. A. Irvine, A Lawrence, T. Ohigashi, S. Outten, R. S. Pickart, M. Shapiro, D. Sproson, R. Swinbank, A. Woolley, and S. Zhang

Greenland has a major influence on the atmospheric circulation of the North Atlantic-western European region, dictating the location and strength of mesoscale weather systems around the coastal seas of Greenland and directly influencing synoptic-scale weather systems both locally and downstream over Europe. High winds associated with the local weather systems can induce large air-sea fluxes of heat, moisture, and momentum in a region that is critical to the overturning of the thermohaline circulation, and thus play a key role in controlling the coupled atmosphere-ocean climate system.

The Greenland Flow Distortion Experiment (GFDex) is investigating the role of Greenland in defining the structure and predictability of both local and downstream weather systems through a program of aircraft-based observation and numerical modeling. The GFDex observational program is centered upon an aircraft-based field campaign in February and March 2007, at the dawn of the International Polar Year. Twelve missions were flown with the Facility for Airborne Atmospheric Measurements' BAe-146, based out of the Keflavik, Iceland. These included the first aircraft-based observations of a reverse tip jet event, the first aircraft-based observations of barrier winds off of southeast Greenland, two polar mesoscale cyclones, a dramatic case of lee cyclogenesis, and several targeted observation missions into areas where additional observations were predicted to improve forecasts.

In this overview of GFDex the background, aims and objectives, and facilities and logistics are described. A summary of the campaign is provided, along with some of the highlights of the experiment.

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I. A. Renfrew, R. S. Pickart, K. Våge, G. W. K. Moore, T. J. Bracegirdle, A. D. Elvidge, E. Jeansson, T. Lachlan-Cope, L. T. McRaven, L. Papritz, J. Reuder, H. Sodemann, A. Terpstra, S. Waterman, H. Valdimarsson, A. Weiss, M. Almansi, F. Bahr, A. Brakstad, C. Barrell, J. K. Brooke, B. J. Brooks, I. M. Brooks, M. E. Brooks, E. M. Bruvik, C. Duscha, I. Fer, H. M. Golid, M. Hallerstig, I. Hessevik, J. Huang, L. Houghton, S. Jónsson, M. Jonassen, K. Jackson, K. Kvalsund, E. W. Kolstad, K. Konstali, J. Kristiansen, R. Ladkin, P. Lin, A. Macrander, A. Mitchell, H. Olafsson, A. Pacini, C. Payne, B. Palmason, M. D. Pérez-Hernández, A. K. Peterson, G. N. Petersen, M. N. Pisareva, J. O. Pope, A. Seidl, S. Semper, D. Sergeev, S. Skjelsvik, H. Søiland, D. Smith, M. A. Spall, T. Spengler, A. Touzeau, G. Tupper, Y. Weng, K. D. Williams, X. Yang, and S. Zhou


The Iceland Greenland Seas Project (IGP) is a coordinated atmosphere–ocean research program investigating climate processes in the source region of the densest waters of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation. During February and March 2018, a field campaign was executed over the Iceland and southern Greenland Seas that utilized a range of observing platforms to investigate critical processes in the region, including a research vessel, a research aircraft, moorings, sea gliders, floats, and a meteorological buoy. A remarkable feature of the field campaign was the highly coordinated deployment of the observing platforms, whereby the research vessel and aircraft tracks were planned in concert to allow simultaneous sampling of the atmosphere, the ocean, and their interactions. This joint planning was supported by tailor-made convection-permitting weather forecasts and novel diagnostics from an ensemble prediction system. The scientific aims of the IGP are to characterize the atmospheric forcing and the ocean response of coupled processes; in particular, cold-air outbreaks in the vicinity of the marginal ice zone and their triggering of oceanic heat loss, and the role of freshwater in the generation of dense water masses. The campaign observed the life cycle of a long-lasting cold-air outbreak over the Iceland Sea and the development of a cold-air outbreak over the Greenland Sea. Repeated profiling revealed the immediate impact on the ocean, while a comprehensive hydrographic survey provided a rare picture of these subpolar seas in winter. A joint atmosphere–ocean approach is also being used in the analysis phase, with coupled observational analysis and coordinated numerical modeling activities underway.

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