A coordinated atmosphere-ocean research project, centered on a rare wintertime field campaign to the Iceland and Greenland Seas, seeks to determine the location and causes of dense water formation by cold-air outbreaks. The Iceland Greenland Seas Project (IGP) is a coordinated atmosphere-ocean research program investigating climate processes in the source region of the densest waters of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation. During February and March 2018, a field campaign was executed over the Iceland and southern Greenland Seas that utilized a range of observing platforms to investigate critical processes in the region – including a research vessel, a research aircraft, moorings, sea gliders, floats and a meteorological buoy. A remarkable feature of the field campaign was the highly-coordinated deployment of the observing platforms, whereby the research vessel and aircraft tracks were planned in concert to allow simultaneous sampling of the atmosphere, the ocean and their interactions. This joint planning was supported by tailor-made convection-permitting weather forecasts and novel diagnostics from an ensemble prediction system. The scientific aims of the IGP are to characterize the atmospheric forcing and the ocean response of coupled processes; in particular, cold-air outbreaks in the vicinity of the marginal-ice zone and their triggering of oceanic heat loss, and the role of freshwater in the generation of dense water masses. The campaign observed the lifecycle of a long-lasting cold-air outbreak over the Iceland Sea and the development of a cold-air outbreak over the Greenland Sea. Repeated profiling revealed the immediate impact on the ocean, while a comprehensive hydrographic survey provided a rare picture of these subpolar seas in winter. A joint atmosphere-ocean approach is also being used in the analysis phase, with coupled observational analysis and coordinated numerical modelling activities underway.
Authors: Renfrew, I. A., Pickart, R. S., Våge, K., Moore, G. W. K., Bracegirdle, Thomas J. ORCID record for Thomas J. Bracegirdle, Elvidge, A. D., Jeansson, E., Lachlan-Cope, Thomas ORCID record for Thomas Lachlan-Cope, McRaven, L.T., Papritz, L., Reuder, J., Sodemann, H., Terpstra, A., Waterman, S., Valdimarsson, H., Weiss, Alexandra, Almansi, M., Bahr, F., Brakstad, A., Barrell, C., Brooke, J. K., Brooks, B.J., Brooks, I. M., Brooks, M. E., Bruvik, E. M., Duscha, C., Fer, I., Golid, H. M., Hallerstig, M., Hessevik, I., Huang, J., Houghton, L., Jónsson, S., Jonassen, M., Jackson, K., Kvalsund, K., Kolstad, E. W., Konstali, K., Kristiansen, J., Ladkin, Russell, Lin, P., Macrander, A., Mitchell, A., Olafsson, H., Pacini, A., Payne, C., Palmason, B., Pérez-Hernández, M. D., Peterson, A. K., Petersen, G. N., Pisareva, M. N., Pope, James O. ORCID record for James O. Pope, Seidl, A., Semper, S., Sergeev, D., Skjelsvik, S., Søiland, H., Smith, D., Spall, M. A., Spengler, T., Touzeau, A., Tupper, G., Weng, Y., Williams, K. D., Yang, X., Zhou, S.