Monday 10th March


Moorings and Melting Snow


Weather Outlook: As before, strong winds over the moorings, and some strong flow over mountains in southern Norway.

Flight plan for tomorrow: Transit back to Andenes via a sensitive region and some strong winds




First, a report on the trip to the cinema last night.We were amazed that a (really) small town like this even has a cinema, but itís pretty old, and only open occasionally.Last night the 8 of us who went made up half of the audience for the film Jumper.As is the norm here, the film was in English with Norwegian subtitles.The best thing about the entire experience was that the film started straight away Ė no 20minutes of pointless adverts beforehand.I did miss having the trailers though!The downsides were the film itself (we hypothesized at breakfast that they spent so much money and effort on the special effects that they forgot to make a plot) and the little breaks every now and again, where the film stopped, the screen went black and then the film started again.A rather expensive cinema trip at NOK80 (~£8) but interesting nonetheless.


The plans for the Falcon in Iceland are evolving as usual.There are at least 3 plans for the flight today, and which is executed will depend on the cloud cover over the moorings in the Denmark Strait.If there is a lot of mid-level cloud so that the LIDARís canít get any good data then the flight will be short, just releasing the dropsondes.Plan B involves a longer flight, doing some more detailed study of the area using the LIDAR, and by the time weíd got to plan C Iíd got confused, so Iím not sure what that was.If plan A is executed (or plan C?) then the Falcon may return to the site tomorrow, when the cloud cover looks more favourable, i.e. there should be less of it.That could lead to the Falcon returning on Wednesday instead of Tuesday Ė as you can tell the plans are fluid at the moment.Andreas is threatening to swim to Iceland to retrieve the Falcon, over fears that Haradur may hijack the aircraft, kidnap the crew and keep the plane in Iceland for the remainder of the campaign.Astrid and Frode are delighted with this development.Theyíve wanted to film someone swimming in the sea since we got here and have their camera ready just in case Andreas turns out to be crazier than they thought.


The snow is definitely starting to melt here from our increase in temperatures from sub-zero to +5degC today, although still windy.The roads are much clearer (i.e. you can actually see the tarmac) and you can see some green starting to appear where the snow cover is receding.It was so warm in fact that Muralidhar even agreed to go for a walk!We drove to the nearby fishing village of Bleik for our walk in the sun.Thereís not much there, except fishing boats and multi-coloured houses, but itís set against a backdrop of mountains and looks pretty.


Weíve had so many new arrivals the past few days, that I wonít list them all.Idar returned from Bergen today, as did Christian (our PR guy) so it was good to have some familiar faces back.After the meeting we tentatively planned the route for tomorrowís transit flight back to Andenes.We want to do as much science en route as possible, and are trying to fly through a sensitive region and then up the coast of Norway to measure the strong winds in the lee of the mountains there.


This evening we had fish again for dinner, with carrots, onions and if you canít guess the last item then youíve not been paying enough attention to the previous blogs.A large part of the evening was spent standing outside watching the aurora, which was probably the most spectacular weíve seen so far. Viewing conditions didnít look good to start with, but as the cloud cleared the show started. After a brief break for waffles, we returned outside to see the lights dancing across the sky.A great end to the day!


Weather Round-up


There are also strong winds over the moorings site tomorrow.The easterly flow over Norway is causing strong downslope winds over southern Norway.These are a potential target on the way back from Iceland tomorrow.


Erik is also proclaiming a lee low that is forming in the lee of Greenland to be a polar low.Itís certainly forming under the influence of cold air coming from the Baffin Bay region.It forms and dissipates quite quickly, and itís at the limit of the Falconís range from Keflavik.


SAP Evaluation


The SV SAPs all indicate that the greatest sensitivity is the north-eastern edge of the low pressure system which is centred over Iceland.This region of sensitivity extends from Andenes to Iceland centred on a latitude of 70degN.There is a second maximum within the verification region, east of the low centre.If the aircraft flies a northerly route back from Iceland then it would pass through this region of sensitivity.


The ETKF SAPs also indicate the low pressure region as sensitive.They indicate the centre of the low pressure as being sensitive and focus on the area south of Iceland.This is the low pressure centre that will skirt the top of the UK tomorrow/Wednesday, bringing high winds.This region is probably highlighted as sensitive because the low pressure system also hits southern Scandinavia between the 24 and 36hrs verification times.Itís probably too far south to go to target tomorrow, but there is not much cloud cover so conditions would be good for the LIDAR.There is little difference between the forecasts for Scandinavia for the optimization times, and the ensemble spread is small (MOGREPS spread has appeared on the DTS site in addition to the EPS spread).