Sunday 9th March

 

Lighthouses and Polar Lights

 

Weather Outlook: Strong winds near the Greenland coast, northerly flow returning to the Nordic seas at the end of the week

Flight plan for tomorrow: Fly over the mooring site or down day.

 

Blog

 

Sunday is a traditional day of rest, and in accordance breakfast was moved back by one hour to 9am.There was no chance to rest though, as the morning briefing meeting was set for 9:30am.Today is a transit flight to Keflavik, Iceland for the Falcon. We are making good use of the time by flying over Cape Tobin to drop some sondes through the corner jet there. Jon Egill got very excited when he looked at the latest satellite images after lunch (fish soup by the way).They showed the signature of mountain waves in the lee of Jan Mayen, which the Falcon is flying over today so he rushed off to find Andreas to see if he could contact the Falcon (in mid-flight) and get them to drop a sonde there. Jan Mayen is a tiny volcanic island north of Iceland, with topography up to 2000m (or so). Today the flow is being forced over the mountain from the SW/W, exciting gravity waves.You can see this in the satellite image because there is low cloud upstream of the mountain, and high cloud with cloud top temperatures of -54degC in the lee of Jan Mayen.

 

Gudmund had again been busy organizing things to get us out of the operations room, so this afternoon we traipsed down to Andenes. We looked round the Northern Light museum, before heading to the lighthouse. The lighthouse was built about 150 years ago and so, as our guide informed us, were the stairs.They were incredibly steep and narrow, which wasnít too bad going up, but going down 7 flights of stairs backwards isnít too much fun. The paparazzi (this time consisting of Gudmund, Andreas and Frank) were out in force as usual, with cameras poised in case anyone slipped.Remarkably, all of us made it up there and back without breaking anything, or being blown off the top (a near thing I can assure you).Iím sure photos of certain people hanging on very tightly to the rails at the top of the lighthouse, where it was blowing a gale, will soon surface.Back for dinner, and it seems that Christmas had come early for the Norwegians.We were served salted lamb and boiled potatoes (Iím really starting to hate them now) with what may have been mashed up swede Ė a traditional Norwegian Christmas dinner.My comment of Ďdidnít we have this last weekí didnít go down very well, because that apparently was a different dish.Well it all looked and tasted the same to me!This evening we are finally off to the local cinema, something we tried to do this time last week, but got overexcited by all the polar low activity and forgot to go.

 

Weather Round-up

 

From Sunday onwards there is northerly flow down the east coast of Greenland, but this is onto/along the sea ice, not advecting cold air off the sea ice.The cold air outbreak looks set to return near the end of the week, and the models already hint that baroclinically generated polar lows could be seen in the Barents and Norwegian seas next weekend.Next Sunday (16th) is the last flying day of the campaign.On Wednesday a low forms in the Russian sector of the Barents sea and develops and moves up towards Svalbard on Thursday. Another low (polar low?) forms south of it and this also develops, pulling down cold air on its western flanks. This low stays in the Russian sector, where we may not venture, and moves towards Novaya Zemlya, making landfall on Sunday.

SAP Evaluation

 

The situation today is much the same as yesterday for the SV SAPs.For 12hrs optimization the sensitive region is on the east side of the low pressure system, over southern Norway. For 24 and 36hrs optimization the sensitive region is on the north side of the low pressure system.

 

The region of maximum sensitivity for the ETKF SAPs is fragmented. Iím not sure what the reason is for this.For 12hrs optimization the sensitive region is over northern Norway and on the north side of the low over the UK.For 24hrs optimization the sensitive region is on the north side of the low over the UK and in the Arctic.This is similar for 36hrs optimization except the largest region of sensitivity is in the Arctic.