Arctic Field Projects



Project Title: Investigation of the mechanisms that drive intraseasonal Arctic surface air temperature variability during the winter (Award# 1723832)

PI: Lee, Sukyoung (sl@meteo.psu.edu)
Phone: (814) 863.1587 
Institute/Department: Penn State University, Meteorology 
IPY Project?
Funding Agency: US\Federal\NSF\GEO\OPP\ARC\ANS
Program Manager: Dr. Cynthia Suchman (csuchman@nsf.gov)
Discipline(s): | Meteorology and Climate |

Project Web Site(s):
NSF_Award_Info: https://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=1...

Science Summary:
The scientific objectives of this project are to advance understanding of the physical mechanisms behind day-to-month time scale variability in Arctic surface air temperature during the cold season. Over the past several decades, the Arctic has been warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, and most of this warming has occurred during winter when the Arctic receives very little sunlight. Until recently, the primary research focus in Arctic science has been on warm season processes; however, recent studies show that during winter when there is virtually no sunlight over the Arctic, warm moist air associated with weather systems is transported from the midlatitudes into the Arctic. These warm moist air intrusions, which can even warm high Arctic regions, have been occurring more frequently during recent years. This research will improve extended and seasonal prediction of Arctic sea ice. It will also support a graduate student. The team will collaborate with The Center for Science and The Schools (CSATS) at Penn State University to lead two single-day workshops on Arctic processes for middle school teachers from urban and rural Pennsylvania school districts serving populations highly underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and math fields. The workshop activity will enhance the teachers' awareness of the importance of studying the Arctic for the winter season. CSATS will evaluate the effectiveness of the workshop through pre/post tests, making necessary adjustments to the pedagogy sessions and activities for the second workshop. Mechanisms that drive day-to-month variability of Arctic surface air temperature will be investigated. The evolution of dominant patterns of Arctic temperature field will be examined and quantified by performing surface energy budget analysis and moist static energy analysis for the atmosphere. The analysis will also include calculations of wave energy propagation. These data analyses will be complemented by computations with a numerical model of the atmosphere. The research will also include an examination of ocean currents and ocean temperatures, as well as sea ice data.

Logistics Summary:
This project aims to advance our understanding of the physical mechanisms behind cold-season Arctic surface air temperature (SAT) variability at intra-seasonal time scales. The PIs will investigate the mechanisms that drive intra-seasonal variability of Arctic SAT. The intra-seasonal SAT patterns will be identified using cluster analysis. The research will also include investigation of the intra-seasonal time-scale SAT patterns that are associated with interannual and longer term variability. The data sets to be used include atmospheric and oceanic reanalysis products, Arctic in-situ data, precipitation data, and outgoing longwave radiation data. Diagnoses will include surface energy budget analysis, moist static energy (MSE) analysis, wave activity flux, and backward trajectory calculations. The insight gained from the diagnostic analyses will be tested using the dynamical core of a global climate model. In addition, the researchers and graduate student will work with Dr. Kathleen Hill of The Center for Science and The Schools (CSATS) at Penn State University to lead two single-day workshops on Arctic processes for middle school teachers from urban and rural Pennsylvania school districts serving populations highly underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and math fields. Model simulations utilizing publicly available data will be utilized. No fieldwork is associated with this project.




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