The current reduction in Arctic sea-ice extent causes unpredictable weather phenomena in the Arctic Ocean (strong winds, high waves, and rapid sea-ice movement associated with cyclones) also over the mid-latitudes (heat waves, severe winters, etc.). With such changing background conditions, more accurate weather forecasts are needed to safely navigate along the Northern Sea Route (NSR) and to understand the climatic linkage between the Arctic and the mid-latitudes. However, this is difficult because of the sparse number of atmospheric observations across the Arctic Ocean. As it is highly difficult to make additional observations in Arctic regions because of limited logistical support, a cost-benefit optimized Arctic observing network is required for improving polar predictions.
In September 2013, Dr. Jun Inoue from the National Institute of Polar Research (NIPR), Japan, and his international research team conducted joint Arctic atmospheric observations using radiosondes (instruments carried into the atmosphere by weather balloons, which measure various atmospheric parameters:Figure 1) on the research vessel Mirai and at meteorological stations surrounding the Arctic Ocean (Ny-Alesund, Alert, and Eureka).
The team launched radiosondes eight times a day from RV Mirai (operated by NIPR and the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC)), six times a day from Ny-Alesund (operated by the Alfred Wegener Institute), and four times a day from Alert and Eureka (operated by Environment Canada). Their high daily observing frequency improved the accuracy of atmospheric data used to estimate the state of the climate and weather forecasts because much of the observed data were incorporated into the initial conditions of the weather simulations in real time.
To investigate the impact of these special observations on the weather forecasts over the Arctic, the research team focused on a high-pressure system along the NSR on September 20, 2013 that caused strong coastal winds and rapid wind-driven sea-ice drift over the NSR. They incorporated multiple observations into the initial conditions of the weather simulations, including these special data and conducted ensemble forecasting experiments with an atmospheric general circulation model.
The influence of the special observational data on the predictability of the high-pressure system was then tested using the different initial fields by excluding these special data from each station separately. It was found that the uncertainty in the modeled wind fields associated with the high-pressure system was reduced when all the radiosonde data was included.
In particular, the data from Ny-Alesund and RV Mirai were very important for predicting this event, partly because of the flow-dependent characteristics in the upper atmosphere. Based on several sets of sensitivity tests, they also determined that four launches per day, once every six hours, is the most cost-effective observing frequency.
Predicted surface wind fields are usually used in sea-ice forecast models as forcing data; therefore, the growth of errors in sea-ice forecasts heavily depends on the accuracy of the predicted wind fields. The research team ran an ice-ocean-coupled model to understand the impact of the accuracy of the predicted wind fields on sea-ice forecasts. It was found that sea-ice forecasts initialized by wind fields that included the special observations adequately predicted the rapid wind-driven sea-ice advection along the NSR.
The research team concluded that additional atmospheric observations would effectively predict not only severe weather phenomena over the Arctic Ocean but also sea-ice distribution influenced by atmospheric forcing. During the Year of Polar Prediction (YOPP), from mid-2017 to mid-2019, proposed by the World Weather Research Programme -- Polar Prediction Project (WWRP -- PPP), these types of observations and modeling activities will be accelerated within the international framework and could contribute to establishing a sustainable Arctic observing network.
National Institute of Polar Research (NIPR), Research Organization of Information and Systems Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC)
Hiromi Obama | EurekAlert!
Scientists propose synestia, a new type of planetary object
23.05.2017 | University of California - Davis
Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence
23.05.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Quantenoptik
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...
In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.
In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...
Dental plaque and the viscous brown slime in drainpipes are two familiar examples of bacterial biofilms. Removing such bacterial depositions from surfaces is...
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
17.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.05.2017 | Life Sciences
23.05.2017 | Medical Engineering