The WMO and AWI kick off the international research initiative “Year of Polar Prediction” to offer improved protection for humans and the environment in polar regions
Today, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) officially announced the start of the international research initiative “Year of Polar Prediction”. The goal of the two-year project, which involves partners from more than 20 countries, is to comprehensively improve weather, ice and climate predictions for the Arctic and Antarctic, so as to achieve two major milestones: more reliable risk assessments for shipping and other human activities, which will help to avoid accidents; and arriving at a better understanding of how climate changes at the Earth’s poles shape the weather in the middle latitudes.
No-one can say for sure whether the next few days will be snowy or sunny at the North Pole: the weather forecast for the Arctic is far less reliable than for other parts of the world, where an extensive grid of automatic weather stations regularly transmits real-time data on barometric pressure, temperature and wind to the weather services scattered around the globe. Today there’s still very little data to be found at the Earth’s poles, a fact that poses risks for human beings and the environment alike.
With the research initiative “Year of Polar Prediction” (YOPP), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the Alfred Wegener Institute and numerous partner institutions from more than 20 countries hope to address these observational gaps and significantly improve predictions for weather, ice and climatic conditions. Accordingly, in the course of the next two years, experts working at universities, weather services and research centres will conduct intensive measuring campaigns in the Arctic and Antarctic, and will use the resulting data to create advanced weather, ice and climate models.
“We need far better predictions for the ice and weather developments in the polar regions if we hope to minimise the hazards created by the increasing level of human activity in the Arctic and Antarctic. By way of example: less sea ice doesn’t automatically translate into fewer risks for the shipping industry – which is why highly accurate ice and weather forecasts are an essential prerequisite for effective safety management,” explains Prof Thomas Jung, a climate researcher at the Alfred Wegener Institute and Head of the YOPP Polar Prediction Project steering group.
The impacts of climate change are more readily apparent in the polar regions than in other parts of the world. “The Arctic and parts of the Antarctic are heating twice as rapidly as the rest of the world, causing melting of glaciers, shrinking sea ice and snow cover. The impact of this is felt in other parts of the globe – as exemplified by rising sea levels and changing weather and climate patterns,” says Jung. “But right now we still can’t make precise predictions on the future developments, or the scope of change. Here, our climate models still have some serious shortcomings.”
These observational gaps in the Arctic also limit the quality of weather and climate predictions for Europe and North America. “Because of teleconnections, the poles influence weather and climate conditions in lower latitudes where hundreds of millions of people live,” says WMO General Secretary Petteri Taalas. “Warming Arctic air masses and declining sea ice are believed to affect ocean circulation and the jet stream, and are potentially linked to extreme phenomena such as cold spells, heat waves and droughts in the northern hemisphere.”
The “Year of Polar Prediction” is an initiative of the WMO World Weather Research Programme and is being coordinated by a project team at the Alfred Wegener Institute in Bremerhaven. Working in predefined observation phases, the participating researchers will significantly increase the quantity of measurements they take in the polar regions, by e.g. launching weather balloons more frequently, deploying more sensor buoys from research ships, and setting up a range of automatic weather stations during their expeditions on land. These efforts will tentatively be supplemented by various measuring campaigns involving aircraft and satellites.
All observational data will be shared via the WMO Information System – allowing operational forecasting centres around the world to receive the data in real time to feed their forecasts. In addition, social scientists will look at how polar forecasts can be factored into socio-economic decision making, whilst key stakeholders in transport, shipping and tourism sectors will provide input on the practical needs of the user community.
“The scientific and technological advances we hope to achieve in the course of the project will help us better grasp the physical processes at work in the Arctic and Antarctic. Further, we will establish new observational networks that will allow us to make more reliable predictions on weather and ice developments in the future – both on the long-term and short-term scales,” concludes Thomas Jung.
Notes for Editors:
Printable photos and graphs can be found here: http://www.awi.de/nc/en/about-us/service/press/press-release/klimaforscher-wollen-bessere-eis-und-wettervorhersagen-fuer-mehr-sicherheit-in-der-arktis-und-antar.html
Further, you can find a digital press kit at: http://www.dropbox.com/sh/l8o73rha5fbdw2e/AAAUvgWceD53UERXmSFB-uMHa?dl=0
Supplemental videos explaining the project can be found at:
For detailed information on the “Year of Polar Prediction”, please consult the official project website: http://www.polarprediction.net
Your academic contact partners at the Alfred Wegener Institute are:
• Prof Thomas Jung (+49 471-4831-1760/1761; e-mail: Thomas.Jung(at)awi.de)
• Dr Helge Gößling (+49 471-4831-1877; e-mail: Helge.Goessling(at)awi.de)
• Dr Kirstin Werner (+49 471 4831-1588; e-mail: Kirstin.Werner(at)awi.de)
At the AWI’s Communications and Media Relations department, Ms Sina Löschke (tel: +49 471 4831 - 2008; e-mail: medien(at)awi.de) will be pleased to help you with any questions.
The Alfred Wegener Institute pursues research in the Arctic, Antarctic and the oceans of the middle and high latitudes. It coordinates polar research in Germany, while also providing essential infrastructure for the international scientific community, including the research icebreaker Polarstern and stations in the Arctic and Antarctic. The Alfred Wegener Institute is one of the 18 Research Centres of the Helmholtz Association, the largest scientific organisation in Germany.
Ralf Röchert | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Water cooling for the Earth's crust
22.11.2017 | Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel (GEOMAR)
Retreating permafrost coasts threaten the fragile Arctic environment
22.11.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum Potsdam - Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum GFZ
The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.
Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....
The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...
Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....
The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.
Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...
15.11.2017 | Event News
15.11.2017 | Event News
30.10.2017 | Event News
22.11.2017 | Business and Finance
22.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
22.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy