Report on the First International Symposium on Operational Weather Forecasting in Antarctica
The First International Symposium on Operational Weather Forecasting in Antarctica was held in Hobart, Australia, from 31 August to 3 September 1998. There were 40 attendees at the meeting from Australia, Belgium, Brazil, China, France, Italy, Russia, and the United Kingdom. In recent years there has been considerable growth in the requirement for weather forecasts for the Antarctic because of the increases in complex scientific research activities and the rapid growth of tourism to the continent. At many of the research stations there are now sophisticated forecasting operations that make use of the data available from drifting buoys and automatic weather stations, the output from numerical weather prediction systems, and high resolution satellite imagery. The models have considerable success at predicting the synoptic–scale depressions that occur over the ocean and in the coastal region. However, the many mesoscale systems that occur, which are very important for forecasting local conditions, are not well represented in the model fields and their movement is mainly predicted via the satellite data. In the future it is anticipated that high resolution, limited–area models will be run for selected parts of the continent. The symposium showed that great advances had been made during recent years in forecasting for the Antarctic as a result of our better understanding of atmospheric processes at high latitudes, along with the availability of high resolution satellite imagery and the output of numerical models. Outstanding problems include the difficulty of getting all of the observations to the main analysis centers outside the Antarctic in a timely fashion, the lack of upper air data from the Antarctic Peninsula and the interior of the continent, and the poor representation of the Antarctic orography and high latitude processes in numerical models. An outcome of the symposium will be a weather forecasting handbook dealing with the entire continent.