Saturday 8th March


Changes Afoot


Weather Outlook: Strong winds around Cape Tobin and over moorings in Denmark Strait

Flight plan for tomorrow: Transit flight to Iceland, over tropopause fold, and over Cape Tobin




After a visit to a local  bar last night it was impressive to see everyone up for breakfast this morning.  Work started immediately on analyzing the latest forecasts to decide the plans for the coming days.  There are strong winds around Cape Tobin (the ‘corner’ halfway up the east Greenland coast) tomorrow and Monday that are of interest to Haraldur (Olafsson).  We also said farewell to Trude this morning, heading back to Bergen to be replaced by Astrid tomorrow.


After our gorgeous lunch of lasagne and garlic bread we decided to go for a walk.  Jon Egill, Ivan, Miguel and I walked along the pier and around Andenes, before heading to the coffee shop.  Jon Egill was impressed that I managed to order my hot chocolate in Norwegian, although I don’t think my accent was very good because I had to say “en shokolade takk” twice before the girl understood me.  Ivan also taught me to say “Jeg forstor ikke” and “Jeg sprakker ikke Norsk” to aid me in the situations where people speak at me in Norwegian.  The translations are: “I don’t understand”, “I don’t speak Norwegian”.  Other people went sightseeing around the island.  Erik and Frode attempted to get our Indian friend Muralidhar out in the fresh air by taking him for a drive to a nearby village where they hang fish up to dry the traditional way on a wooden frame near the sea.  Muralidhar had other ideas about this and spent most of the time sat in the car wrapped up against what he considered to be the biting cold.  We’ve actually been really lucky with the weather here, and have got used to clear and sunny, albeit cold days.  A change is in the air however - it’s warming up here.  Today it’s 00C, and for the first time I didn’t have to wear my thermals under my clothes to go walking outside.  The consequence of this warming is that the snow is starting to melt and everywhere is becoming very icy.  It’s going to be colder again tomorrow, before a front comes through on Sunday night bringing some snow but there is warmer air behind it.  The air behind the front is warm and 40C is forecast for Monday.  Heatwave!


After 2 conference calls to Haraldur in Iceland and consultation with DLR the plans have been set for the next few days.  Tomorrow will see the White Beauty leave us for Keflavik via a tropopause fold north of Iceland and the Cape Tobin jet.  Monday will probably be a flight over the mooring site and barrier jet, using LIDAR and dropsondes.  Tuesday should see the return of the Falcon to Andenes via the Cape Tobin jet, which will have less cloud cover over the top and so can be scanned with the wind LIDAR.  After the meeting the dwindling female population had a welcome boost by the arrival of two masters students from Bergen, Berit and Beathe.  They were accompanied by Matthias Zahn, a PhD student from Germany.  The most welcome change was at dinner where there were no boiled potatoes to be found, only pizza, pizza and more pizza.  Will the potatoes make a return tomorrow?  The odds are high.  The evening was brought to a close by watching a strange British film about an old man’s obsession with a girl a quarter of his age.  Under interrogation the perpetrators who rented the film confessed to being misled by the description of the film as ‘a British comedy’.  The Northern lights made a brief appearance, but the weather was for once against us as the cloud rolled in.  The University of Fairbanks Alaska’s aurora forecast indicates a more active aurora for the next few nights, so we are praying for clear skies to give us good viewing opportunities!


Weather Round-up


The ECMWF 00Z forecast from yesterday (7th) showed a lee cyclone forming and merging with a larger synoptic scale cyclone as it deepened.  This cyclone reached 954hPa at midnight on Wednesday.  The 12Z ECMWF forecast from yesterday showed a less intense cyclone at 964hPa with the centre slightly further east.  The lee cyclone is less intense and dies out quickly, and doesn’t merge with the cyclone before it hits the UK.  The 00Z forecast from midnight today (8th) moves the cyclone much faster over the UK, and has the centre between Scotland and southern Norway at 962hPa at midnight on Wednesday.  In this forecast the lee cyclone is stronger, but does not merge with the larger cyclone, although it does start moving towards the UK before dying out on Wednesday.  The conclusion from yesterday that flow distortion by Greenland would influence the development of the cyclone that hits the UK on Wednesday seems to be valid, as the cyclone is weaker in the recent forecasts where the lee cyclone does not merge with it.  This now does not look like a good case for targeting.


A low pressure system which has tracked up around the east side of Iceland, to be north of Iceland at 12Z on Sunday is causing a corner jet around Cape Tobin.  As this low pressure system continues its cyclonic path around Iceland towards Cape Farewell on Sunday and Monday there are barrier winds in the Denmark Strait, over the mooring site at 65N 33W.


SAP Evaluation


The SV SAPs highlight regions to the south (12hrs opt) and southwest (24, 36hrs opt) of the verification region, one the south side of the low pressure system over Iceland.  There is strong upper-level flow associated with the jet stream into the verification region.


The ETKF SAPs show more variation with optimization time.  For 12hrs optimization time the sensitive region is on the eastern side of the low pressure system, over Norway and up to the southern edge of Svalbard.  For 24hrs optimization there are two sensitive regions: the eastern side of the low within the verification region and just south-west of the low where a low (which deepens and hits UK?) has formed.  For 36hrs optimization the southern edge of the low and the lee low are highlighted as sensitive.