Tuesday 11th March
through sensitive regions
Weather Outlook: Easterly winds
persist, northerly flow returning at the end of the week.
Flight plan for tomorrow: Stong
winds off the coast of Norden Trondelag.
The flight plan for today had a slight change of direction
this morning. Haraldur found some clear
skies north of Iceland
where there were interesting flow patterns, and opportunities for LIDAR
measurements. This meant a change to the
flight plan and objectives – instead of flying south through an ETKF sensitive
region, we will be flying north through an SV target region. This route is shorter than yesterday’s
planned route, and means we still have time to fly up the coast of Norway and
measure the winds there. As of 10am this
morning, everyone’s happy. Half an hour
later, and everyone’s still happy, although the plans have had to change. The plan that we proposed, when Haraldur
added his lower-level legs to it, had the aircraft over the Norwegian
sea with no fuel left. The
solution was to cut out the study of the winds along the Norwegian coast, and
make these the objective of the flight tomorrow.
Erik left us this morning and headed back to rainy Bergen. His article on the campaign “Mindre Ekstremvær
I Nord” (less extreme weather in the north), made the front page of local paper
Nordlys yesterday but we only got it today (everything’s a day behind
here!). Okay, so if we’re being honest
only the title made the front page,
but the article took up an entire page further in. I would love to describe it to you, but it’s
in Norwegian. From what I can gather,
it’s about how there may be fewer polar lows in the future due to global
warming. It also talks about our field
campaign to fly through polar lows and has some photos of the DLR Falcon in
it. Erik (Kolstad) works at the
Bjerknessenteret for klimaforskning (Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research) in Bergen, and studies polar
lows, so this is his area of expertise.
Idar also did a live TV interview for NRK this afternoon,
which we’ve just watched the footage of.
The wonders of modern technology mean that a Mac, a set of headphones
and Skype are all that’s needed to appear live on TV. As I speak Jon Egill is being interviewed by
a reporter from a local newspaper who has joined us for a day or two. One of the stipulations of being an
International Polar Year project is that you have to do outreach, so this is
all part of that.
We welcomed the Falcon and her crew back to Andenes this
afternoon. It seems that her flights to,
around and back from Iceland
were successful, and only minor problems were encountered. One of these problems was having to circle
airport for half an hour on return from a flight yesterday, as the ground staff
battled to clear snow from the runways!
There is also a small problem with the water vapour LIDAR, which won’t
be fixed in time for tomorrow’s flight, but should be fixed in time for polar
low hunting at the weekend.
Continuing the food diary, for dinner we had pork,
sauerkraut and, wait for it, boiled potatoes.
My growing dislike of the boiled potatoes is becoming a running joke
here now. In my defence, we’ve had
boiled potatoes every day for dinner except for three occasions, on two of
which the potatoes were mashed. Tomorrow
we are having our campaign dinner at the restaurant which brings us our food
everyday. We are going to have a local
dish called mølja, which translated means cod steak, liver and roe.
The 12Z HIRLAM 20km (12km res.on a 20km grid) first. There is an area of low pressure moving
torwards southern Norway,
giving easterly winds over the Trondelag region (halfway up the coast). This is causing strong downslope winds of 40kts,
which are strongest tomorrow morning and die out through the day. They will be the target of the flight
There is also easterly flow near Svalbard,
with a tip jet of 25kt winds and also strong winds channeled through the
Hinlopenstretet on Thursday/Friday.
The flow is becoming more northerly through Friday. The air starts to come off the sea ice near
Svalbard and down the east coast of Greenland towards Iceland.
The 12Z HIRLAM 10km model shows a low developing in the
northerly flow late on Friday, to the west of the southern tip of Svalbard. The
ECMWF model (00Z forecast) has a development in a similar location as early as
Wednesday, which doesn’t really develop, just moves north over the sea ice and
dies. This model also has a low forming
Saturday morning, between Andøya and Svalbard, which moves east into the
Russian sector (W of 30E). A stronger
polar low forms on Sunday, when the warmer waters return and the temperature
difference between the sea surface and 500hPa reaches 46degC. This low develops and hits the Vesteralen
islands late on Sunday with 50kt winds at 925hPa.
The SV SAPs continue to identify the eastern edge of the low
pressure system as sensitive, for all optimization times. This region of sensitivity is mostly within
the verification region.
The ETKF SAPs identify the area north of Norway up to 85N, centred on Svalbard
as the most sensitive with respect to the Norwegian verification region, for
all optimization times.