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Norwegian Meteorological Institute
Country: Norway
11 Projects, page 1 of 3
  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: NE/G000123/1
    Funder Contribution: 47,555 GBP

    In 2006 scientists from the UK's National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (NOCS) installed additional sensors to measure the rate at which the atmosphere and ocean exchange heat, CO2 and momentum. The behaviour of theses exchanges or 'fluxes' is complicated and is affected by many other processes. For example, the CO2 flux may depend on wind speed, air temperature and humidity, sea temperature, sea state, wave breaking, whitecap coverage, CO2 concentration of the water and CO2 concentration in the atmosphere. All these processes need to be measured as well, so that the behaviour of the flux can be understood. The Polarfront was already equipped with a ship borne wave recorder (SBWR) which makes direct measurements of the wave heights, but this system does not measure the direction of the waves. As part of the NOCS project a wave radar system (WAVEX) was also installed to provide wave direction. The WAVEX does not make direct height measurements, but combining its directional data with the height data from the SBWR gives a very detailed description of the sea state - the Polarfront is the only ship in the world to have both systems. NOCS added digital cameras to the ship's bridge to obtain whitecap fraction and sea spikes in the wave radar data will be used to obtained wave breaking statistics. The fluxes are very difficult to measure directly and such measurements are usually only made from research ships, during short cruises of only a few weeks. To date very few measurements have been made of the CO2 flux and none have been made over the open ocean for winds of more than 15 m/s. In contrast, the NOCS systems on the Polarfront have operated continuously since they were installed in September 2006 and measurements in mean wind speeds of more than 25 m/s have already been made. Obtaining high wind speed data is important because the fluxes increase rapidly with increasing wind speed. The Polarfront was chosen for the project since it is dedicated to meteorological observations, unlike any other ship in the world. It also occupies a location where high wind speeds and therefore large fluxes often occur. To understand the interaction between the various forcing process requires a large data set obtained under as wide a range of conditions as possible. Extending the measurement program from 2 years to 3 years (as originally planned) would significantly increase the data available for analysis and would only increase the cost of the project by 12%.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: NE/T006773/1
    Funder Contribution: 388,926 GBP

    As climate has warmed in response to increasing greenhouse gases, the distribution of Arctic sea ice has changed dramatically, becoming thinner over large portions of the Arctic Ocean basin in summer with a prominent reduction of the September minimum in sea ice extent. Human activity is increasing within the Arctic as the environment changes, with more residents and visitors making use of the increased window for shipping, offshore operations and tourism during summer. This has driven demand for coupled forecasts of weather, ocean and sea-ice state across the Arctic on the timescales needed to make risk-based decisions. Weather forecast skill for the Arctic is lower than for northern mid-latitudes, but the reasons why are multi-faceted and not fully known. Our hypothesis is that some aspects of the Arctic environment are not well forecast because the surface conditions beneath Arctic weather systems are more dynamic due to the movement of sea ice. Understanding of the physical processes that couple the atmosphere, ocean and sea ice is incomplete and the new frontier in prediction is to model this coupled system with fidelity and skill. Centres striving to improve capability in this area are our project partners: the Met Office, ECMWF and Met Norway. Arctic cyclones are the dominant type of hazardous weather system affecting the Arctic environment in summer - thus a concern for all human activities. They can also have critical impacts on the Arctic environment: in particular on sea-ice movement, sometimes resulting in 'Very Rapid Ice Loss Events' (VRILEs - timescale days to weeks) which present a major challenge to coupled forecasts; and on the baroclinicity (temperature gradients) around the Arctic, influencing subsequent weather systems and forecasts of Arctic climate from weeks out to a season ahead. Our proposed observational experiment will be the first focusing on summer-time Arctic cyclones and taking the measurements required to investigate the influence of sea-ice conditions on their development. New observations are needed comprising of turbulent near-surface fluxes of momentum, heat and moisture measured simultaneously with the sea ice or ocean surface beneath the aircraft track and along cyclone-scale transects. These fluxes dictate the impact of the surface on the development of weather systems. We will operate from Svalbard (Norway) in summer 2021, using the British Antarctic Survey's Twin Otter low-flying aircraft equipped to measure turbulence at flight level and the surface properties through infrared and lidar remote sensing. Our US partners, have designed an observational experiment, called THINICE, looking downwards on Arctic cyclone structure from an aircraft flying above the tropopause (10 km). Our projects are co-designed for summer 2021 so that the observations from the Twin Otter will form a bridge between US airborne and satellite measurements above and the properties of the surface fluxes and sea ice beneath. The project brings together expertise in observations, modelling and theoretical approaches to surface exchange, cyclone dynamics and sea-ice physics. We will use novel theoretically-based approaches to interrogate forecast models as they run and determine the mechanisms through which the surface properties alter cyclone growth. The new surface and turbulence data will be used to improve the parametrization of form drag in models that is central to wind forcing of sea-ice motion as well as decelerating surface winds. These aspects will be explored with state-of-the-art atmosphere and sea-ice dynamics models. Finally, we will close the loop through investigation of the effects of increased surface roughness on Arctic cyclones and their coupled interaction with Arctic temperature gradients. A major legacy of the project will be the unprecedented observations that will enable much needed evaluation and development of environmental forecast models for decades to come.

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  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: NE/I030127/2
    Funder Contribution: 113,660 GBP

    We propose a network to stimulate new international collaboration in measuring and understanding the surface temperatures of Earth. This will involve experts specialising in different types of measurement of surface temperature, who do not usually meet. Our motivation is the need for better understanding of in situ measurements and satellite observations to quantify surface temperature as it changes from day to day, month to month. Knowing about surface temperature variations matters because these affect ecosystems and human life, and the interactions of the surface and the atmosphere. Surface temperature (ST) is also the main indicator of "global warming". Knowledge of ST for >150 years has been derived from in situ meteorological and oceanographic measurements. These have been fundamental to weather forecasting, to environmental sciences, and to detection and attribution of climate change. Thermal remote sensing of ST from space has a ~30 year history, including operational exploitation. Observations of high accuracy and stability come from the 20-year record of Along Track Scanning Radiometers (ATSRs) . ATSR-class capability will shortly become operational in the space segment of Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES), and will continue until at least 2030. The best insight into ST variability and change through the 21st century will come from jointly using in situ and multi-platform satellite observations. There is a clear need and appetite to improve the interaction of scientists across the in-situ/satellite 'divide' and across all domains of Earth's surface. This will accelerate progress in improving the quality of individual observations and the mutual exploitation of different observing systems over a range of applications. Now is a critical time to initiate this research network. First, the network will link closely to a major new initiative to improve quantification of ST from surface meteorological stations (surfacetemperatures.org). Second, there are areas of acute need to improve understanding of ST: e.g., across regions of Africa, where in situ measurements are very sparse; and across the Arctic, where the evolving seasonal sea ice extent challenges the current practices for quantifying ST variability and change. Third, it is timely to share experience between remote sensing communities. All these motivations are present against a backdrop where ST is, in relation to climate change, of current public interest & relevance to policy. This network will increase the international impact of UK science. UK investigators are involved across the full scope of the proposed ST network, and have leading international roles in several areas. The network will ensure UK participation at the highest level across all domains of ST research. In this proposal, key world-class organisations overseas have roles in steering and/or hosting network activities. The network will welcome participation of others not contacted in preparation of this proposal. Permission will be sought from the originators of all data used for case studies to make the data set freely available. The network will be organised around three themes over three years: Year 1. In situ and satellite ST observations: challenges across Earth's domains Year 2: Quantifying surface temperature across Arctic Year 3: Joint exploitation of in situ and satellite surface temperatures in key land regions. The first theme is an inclusive question, designed to bring together research communities and develop a full picture of common research needs and aspirations. The second theme is a pressing research question to which the network will co-ordinate a useful and unique contribution. The third theme is one of long-term interest and importance in the strengthening of the observational foundations for climate change monitoring and diagnosis.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: NE/M003906/1
    Funder Contribution: 530,514 GBP

    Air pollution is the environmental factor with the greatest impact on human health in Europe. Despite substantial emission controls, the complexities of the processes linking emissions and air quality, means that substantial proportions - 80% and 97%, respectively, of the population in Europe lives in cities with levels of particulate matter (PM) and ozone (O3) exceeding EU limit and target values. The two pollutants are estimated to contribute 350,000 and 200,000 premature deaths across Europe. NERC's strategy document states: "In the UK, air pollution costs the economy £15 billion every year in damage to human health, not including the cost of damage to our environment and crops." Understanding the key processes driving air quality across the relevant spatial scales, especially during pollution exceedances and episodes, is essential to provide effective prediction for both policymakers and the public. It is particularly important for policy regulators to understand the drivers of local air quality that can be regulated by national policies versus the contribution from regional pollution transported from mainland Europe or elsewhere. Urban areas are of particular concern since as well as being receptors of regional pollution, they have high local emissions from heating and road transport associated with their high population densities. They are also subject to an urban heat island effect which can impact on the chemistry of air pollution. Our overall aim is to use state-of-the-art modelling and measurements to quantify and reduce uncertainties in the key regional and local processes that control poor air quality in urban areas, both for present-day and in the future. This proposal will develop a novel model framework using a nested suite of models to bridge scales from regional to urban for simulating atmospheric composition and weather including urban heat island effects across the UK and over London. The proposal will further exploit state-of-the-art NERC measurements from recent ClearfLo and REPARTEE field campaigns in London bringing together modelling and measurements experts to determine controlling factors of high O3 and PM events. A detailed box model of the chemical environment based on these field measurements will be constructed, and used to calculate in situ chemical production of O3 during both average and episodic conditions. The coupled regional to urban model will be evaluated against these box model and field campaign results as well as extensive network measurements. Multiple approaches will be used to probe the regional and local contributions to O3 during high O3 events. The key processes driving PM episodes will also be determined using speciated field measurements and coupled model results. The role of nitrous acid on O3 and PM oxidation chemistry in urban areas is a key uncertainty that will be quantified. Air pollution events in the UK are usually associated with stagnation events, which in summer may be coincident with heatwaves. During heatwaves weather conditions may alter emission and deposition processes. The relative importance of these processes, such as reduced O3 deposition, that lead to elevated pollution levels will be established. To investigate the impact of future emissions and climate change on urban air quality, high-resolution climate-chemistry simulations that consistently account for changes in chemistry and transport from the regional to city scale will be performed and future impacts on air quality extremes evaluated. Proof of concept studies with the coupled model framework and with high-resolution climate projections demonstrate the viability of the intended research. This proposal comprises a strong collaboration between modelling and measurement scientists spanning the disciplines of fundamental chemistry, atmospheric composition, and climate change, to advance our understanding of the processes driving regional to urban-scale air quality now and in the future.

  • Funder: UKRI Project Code: NE/H008187/1
    Funder Contribution: 324,216 GBP

    By modifying the amount of solar radiation absorbed at the land surface, bright snow and dark forests have strong influences on weather and climate; either a decrease in snow cover or an increase in forest cover, which shades underlying snow, increases the absorption of radiation and warms the overlying air. Computer models for weather forecasting and climate prediction thus have to take these effects into account by calculating the changing mass of snow on the ground and interactions of radiation with forest canopies. Such models generally have coarse resolutions ranging from kilometres to hundreds of kilometres. Forest cover cannot be expected to be continuous over such large distances; instead, northern landscapes are mosaics of evergreen and deciduous forests, clearings, bogs and lakes. Snow can be removed from open areas by wind, shaded by surrounding vegetation or sublimated from forest canopies without ever reaching the ground, and these processes which influence patterns of snow cover depend on the size of the openings, the structure of the vegetation and weather conditions. Snow itself influences patterns of vegetation cover by supplying water, insulating plants and soil from cold winter temperatures and storing nutrients. The aim of this project is to develop better methods for representing interactions between snow, vegetation and the atmosphere in models that, for practical applications, cannot resolve important scales in the patterns of these interactions. We will gather information on distributions of snow, vegetation and radiation during two field experiments at sites in the arctic: one in Sweden and the other in Finland. These sites have been chosen because they have long records of weather and snow conditions, easy access, good maps of vegetation cover from satellites and aircraft and landscapes ranging from sparse deciduous forests to dense coniferous forests that are typical of much larger areas. Using 28 radiometers, and moving them several times during the course of each experiment, will allow us to measure the highly variable patterns of radiation at the snow surface in forests. Information from the field experiments will be used in developing and testing a range of models. To reach the scales of interest, we will begin with a model that explicitly resolves individual trees and work up through models with progressively coarser resolutions, testing the models at each stage against each other and in comparison with observations. The ultimate objective is a model that will be better able to make use of landscape information in predicting the absorption of radiation at the surface and the accumulation and melt of snow. We will work in close consultation with project partners at climate modelling and forecasting centres to ensure that our activities are directed towards outcomes that will meet their requirements.

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