Monday 25th February
Arrival in Andenes – the campaign begins!
Weather Outlook: Lee cyclone/polar low west of
Flight plan for tomorrow: Fly over the cyclone, land at Longyearbyen (Spitsbergen) to re-fuel, then fly in the lee
Leaving my house at 5am this morning I was wondering what had possessed me to fly so early from Heathrow. The reason of course was that it takes so long to get up to Andenes that if you don’t leave early then you end up spending the night in Tromsø or Bodø. Twelve hours, four airports and three flights later I arrived in snowy and windy Andenes. With each flight the aeroplane and airport got progressively smaller, until we arrived in the darkness to a small wooden building where you had to pick your luggage straight off the trolleys that they use to transport it from the plane to the terminal building. Jon Egill (who is in charge of the campaign) and Gunnar (a forecaster at Tromsø) and I were met by Gudmund (the project secretary) and Christian (the PR guy) who was busy snapping photos of the project leader’s arrival. Happily for us, the 2-man TV documentary crew who had gone to the military airport to meet our research aircraft, the DLR Falcon, so we avoided being filmed until the briefing meeting in the evening. The Falcon was supposed to have arrived a few hours before us, but was forced to divert and land at a nearby airport due to the closure of Andenes airport earlier in the day because of ice on the runway.
After arriving we went to the dining room for a traditional Norwegian meal – a kind of mashed potato with vegetables and mutton mixed in, accompanied by a flatbread. A briefing meeting then followed, with Gunnar giving us the weather forecast for the next day and Idar and the others outlining the proposed flight. I was asked to show the sensitive area predictions (non-metos, you can keep reading, I’m going to explain this!), which in this case show you where you should make additional observations of the atmosphere to put into your forecast model to improve the 12-36hr weather forecast for Norway. Everyone was encouraged by the fact that this sensitive region was over the low pressure system, which is where they wanted to fly tomorrow. The outcome of the meeting was a decision to re-convene at 7:30am tomorrow to produce a flight plan. This will enable us to have a look at the most recent forecasts and satellite data to see where the low pressure system has moved to – these systems are not well predicted which is part of the reason for this field campaign.