Wednesday 27th February
Our first flight!
Weather Outlook: (quoting Mel and Jon Egill) “a double vortex along a reverse-polar front”. Cold air outbreak from this weekend for a few days at least.
Flight plan for tomorrow: Map the two low pressure systems, one near Lofoten, one near Jan Mayen.
brilliant display of the northern lights last night our attention this morning
was focused back to a lower part of the atmosphere as the flight planning team
finalised the details of this today’s flight.
The flight will study several things, firstly the winds off the coast of
We want to
get the data from the dropsondes into the forecast,
and this process hasn’t been tested until today! How does this work? As the dropsonde
falls through the atmosphere, collecting data on the structure of the
atmosphere (temperature, winds, pressure and water content) it transmits this
data back to the aircraft via a radio link. Once they receive all the data for one sonde onboard the aircraft they use a satellite phone to
email this information to the Norwegian Met service, who
put it onto the global telecommunications system so that the data is available
to all the forecast centres. If the data
is received by the forecast centres in time, then it is used to help make the
forecast, which is started at around midday. We were happy to receive an email at 11:30
local time, confirming that the Norwegian Met Service had received data from
the first sonde to be dropped. Unfortunately the data they sent was minus the
latitude and longitude information, rendering it useless, and forcing us to try
and decode the data sent to the GTS to work out what the format of the missing
data should be. The Met Institute at
Continuing the food diary that I seem to have started, we had whale steak for supper, with potatoes and pea stew. This was my first taste of whale, and I have to report that it tasted good. The texture is more like beef than any fish I’ve ever eaten, and it is a reddy-brown colour. I was assured that it wasn’t an endangered species of whale that had been hunted, although we never did manage to successfully translate the Norwegian name for it. Apparently whale meat has become much less common in Norway; it used to be a ‘poor-man’s steak’ and people ate it regularly, but now it is much less common, maybe due to hunting restrictions imposed on Norwegian fisherman.
forecasts from midnight show a well-defined front, oriented towards the
south-east from the north-eastern coast of
are predicting barrier winds along the coast of Greenland, which has got Haraldur excited, and there was talk of sending the DLR off
like we might see two polar lows on Monday (2nd March), in an
outbreak of cold air from the north. Conditions
look good at the beginning of next week, with the Z500 field showing northerly
winds bringing cold air southwards, to the west of
The ETKF SAPs again put the maximum in sensitivity to the north of Andenes, extending from the east coast of Greenland to