Tuesday 26th February


Settling in to Andøya on the first day of the campaign


Weather Outlook: Strong winds developing along eastern Greenland coast on Thurs/Fri.  Sat and Sun look more promising for polar low formation to our north.

Flight plan for tomorrow: Map south-easterly flow coming off the coast from Andøya to the Kola Peninsula; map out the Arctic front to the south of Spitsbergen and how it is modified by the orography.




When we came in this morning at 7:30am we looked at the satellite images and saw that the cyclone had moved further west than predicted and looked to have weakened overnight.  It was now sitting over the ice-edge to the east of Greenland, and the forecasts now have it decaying.  Idar was in favour of flying to Spitsbergen to study the effect that its mountains have on the airflow but it was decided that this effect did not look especially pronounced for today, and that our time would be better spent preparing the aircraft and getting sorted out.  So my day is being spent looking at forecast charts and sensitive area predictions.  Hopefully I’ll get a chance to go walking and take some photos later on – the scenery here is beautiful.  We have mountains on one side of us and the sea on the other and everything is covered in snow.  More snow is forecast for tomorrow as well and it looks like it’s going to get colder as well.  I am purposely sat facing away from the window or else I wouldn’t get much done looking at that view and checking for snow! 


After a traditional Norwegian meal of salted cod, we returned to our computers only briefly before being lured away from them by the lovely smells coming from the kitchen.  It seems that there’s no quicker way to clear a room full of scientists than to announce that the cook has just made waffles for everyone!  This is apparently a common way to end a meal; to have waffles topped with various combinations of jam, cream and cheese.  The Norwegians insisted that I abandon my fork and use my hands instead, which they could have told me before I’d piled lots of jam and cream on the top of the waffles!  I then went for a drive (don’t worry, it wasn’t me doing the driving on the icy roads) to see downtown Andenes, and spotting a glow in the sky as we were returning, we drove a little south to where there were no street lights and got out of the car to see magnificent green shimmering lights stretching across the sky against a backdrop of snow-covered mountains.  Jealous yet?  Unfortunately despite my attempts with my little camera, and our cameraman’s more sophisticated attempts with a better camera, the lights proved too dim to see on the screen.  We hope that the lights will return, and be even stronger so that we can capture them on film.


Weather Round-up


Note: what follows is not intended to be understood by non-meteorologists, so if you’re not interested in the weather then I suggest you stop reading and go look at the pretty pictures instead! 


Currently:  The lee low which formed yesterday to the west of Spitsbergen weakened overnight as it moved west.  This can be seen nicely in the IR satellite images.  It is now situated on the ice edge east of Greenland, which is a baroclinic zone.  The 00Z Met Office global and NAE forecasts predict the low to have died by 00Z 27th.  The HIRLAM (Met No.) 06Z forecast from the 12km model has the low dying by midday today, whereas the 8km forecast keeps the low active for longer.  The 00Z 20km HIRLAM run has westerly flow impinging on Svalbard, becoming more NW by T+48.  There will be a flight tomorrow to study the lee effects of Spitsbergen on the Arctic front. 


SAP Evaluation


UKMO SAPs have a sensitive region to the north of Andøya, from Spitsbergen to 10W for optimization times of 12 and 24hrs and to 20W for a 36hr optimization time.  This is where the low pressure system by Jan Mayen is forecast to be.  This system is forecast to move towards the Greenland coast and die away.  Looking at the 500hPa geopotential and winds it is not obvious how a perturbation added in here would impact the forecast for Norway. 


The SV SAPs have the sensitive region in a much more intuitive position – in and to the west of the verification region.  This makes sense dynamically because the 500hPa flow is weak westerly in the northern part of the verification region and stronger westerly in the southern part of the verification region.