Friday 7th March
Weather Outlook: Barrier winds in Denmark
Strait at weekend, no flights around here until mid-next week
Flight plan for tomorrow: Either
transit flight to Iceland
or down day. Possibly
some targeting incorporated into the flights around Iceland.
First, an update on the bad weather heading for the UK. The Met
Office has issued severe weather warnings for Monday/Tuesday next week: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/uk/uk_forecast_warnings.html
As we weren’t
flying today we decided to have a day of science presentations and a trip up to
the top of the nearby mountain, to see the lovely views. Oh, and see the LIDAR observatory there as
well. We started the day with a
presentation from Andreas Fix about an instrument onboard the DLR Falcon. It’s called a water vapour LIDAR and (in
simplified terms) it measures the water content through the depth of the atmosphere,
by firing a laser beam from the instrument, and measuring how much of the laser
pulse comes back. This was followed by a
talk from the director of ALOMAR, the Arctic LIDAR Observatory for Middle
Atmospheric Research. They study things
like noctilucent clouds, which form 85km above the
surface in the summer time, and the structure of the middle and upper
atmosphere. They also use LIDARs, but you couldn’t fit their LIDAR’s
onboard a plane, they’re much too big.
finally managed to get a plane ticket to Oslo
(a popular destination it seems) and left us after the presentations. After a late lunch (soup with pasta in it and
some sort of meat that was pronounced by Erik to be reindeer, but could have
been anything) we were driven up the mountain to see the view. Oh, sorry, the LIDAR observatory. On the way we overtook the German contingent
who had decided to walk. We did stop at
the viewpoint first, the same place that a few of us had walked up to
yesterday. I remembered to bring my
camera with me today, so I will update my photo album later with the views down
to the fishing village
and down to Andenes. After taking in the views and resisting the
urge to give our lovely cameraman a little nudge as he stood on the edge of a
very steep slope filming us, we headed up to the observatory. We were given the grand tour, seeing how they
produce the light beams, and seeing the actual instruments themselves. It was interesting, even if quite a few of the
details went straight over my head.
to sea-level and with the focus back on the weather, Erik (Kolstad)
gave us a talk about cold air outbreaks.
We had to wait a while for the German contingent, who had spent several
hours discussing the finer details of the LIDARs with
the staff after we had left. Dinner was
interesting today: battered cod tongue, with potatoes (again) and salad. The cod tongue was very creamy, and didn’t
have a very strong taste. Being a
Friday, we have decided to take a trip to the pub, for details on this trip
read tomorrow’s blog!
decision was finally taken to send the Falcon to Keflavik
in Iceland on Sunday morning
to carry out a couple of research flights in the Denmark
Strait. The DLR crew are
keen to do some targeting if possible, using the LIDAR as well as dropsondes, and we are working out if this is possible to
do as part of one of the flights. The
LIDAR can’t see through thick cloud which is a problem when a lot of what you
want to study is below the cloud, or in a cloudy area. Gudmund has been
busy planning things to get us out of the operations room this weekend, and so
it looks like we’ll be taking in the sights of Andenes
for a few hours on Sunday afternoon. His
plans to get the entire science and aircraft crew to the local rock concert
next Friday might not be quite as successful.
Not much to
report in the Arctic region, and we’re not flying again today or tomorrow. Today I will restrict my discussion to
weather that is hitting the UK. This is because the plane is travelling to Iceland on Sunday and will fly into the Denmark strait (probably) on
Sunday afternoon, so I am thinking about possibilities for targeting. There is an intense low that will hit the UK hard on
Monday into Tuesday night next week. The
forecasted winds are 60kts at 925hPa from the ECMWF model, and the winds are
strong ahead of the storm, as well as as it passes
over the country. The precipitation also
looks heavy, and as the air mass has come from the Arctic, originating over Canada so maybe it will be cold enough to give
snow showers over Scotland.
intense low is forecast to hit the UK on Thursday. On Sunday there are strong barrier winds in
the Denmark strait, which may influence the development
of a cyclone in the lee of Greenland on
Monday. This cyclone moves SE and merges
with a larger cyclone to its south, as the larger cyclone deepens and moves
towards the UK.
The SV SAPs for 12hrs optimisation have highlighted the eastern
edge of a low pressure system which is moving towards southern Scandinavia. For
24 and 36hrs optimisation this sensitive region is over the southern side of
the low, over the UK.
The ETKF SAPs also highlight the eastern side of the low, but for 24
and 36hrs optimisation times. For 12hrs
optimisation time the sensitive region is to the north and west of Andenes, up towards Svalbard.
SAP was requested for targeting Sunday (9th 12Z), verifying on
Monday (10th 12Z) over the UK. For this verification region and time the sensitive
region identified by both methods is primarily south of Iceland. The ETKF sensitive region is further north than
the SV sensitive region and in targeting range from Keflavik.