This is the first book to document techniques for detection and theoretical advances for prediction of a recently recognized polar atmospheric phenomenon. The first chapter reviews researchers’ difficulties in defining the phenomenon and explaining the physical processes related to polar and Arctic lows. The term polar includes a variety of atmospheric phenomena poleward of the Northern or Southern Hemisphere polar front; however, much of the book focuses on small, rapidly developing, intense storms that occur in Arctic regions.
The various processes on the generation and intensification of the phenomena are described in technical detail by the contributors to the chapter on theory. Processes presented include the role of shallow baroclinic instability in the formation of high latitude storms, the contribution of conditional instability of the second kind (CISK) in the growth of these storms, the influence of surface heat fluxes, and reasons why processes attributed to low latitude tropical storms are similar to high latitude storms.
The stimulating theoretical papers are followed by a chapter on comprehensive descriptions of numerical simulations and prediction models. Most of these models are based on mesoscale limited area models developed in the United States and applied to the polar low prediction problem by Norwegian, Danish, and U.S. meteorologists. In the application of predictive models to polar lows the contributors to the third chapter exploit the use of aircraft and satellite data as described in the fourth chapter on case studies.
The use of satellite-derived data is a common theme throughout this book for the purpose of improved understanding of the phenomenon and to achieve the goal to provide reliable operational prediction of this destructive life-threatening phenomenon. In the last chapter, satellite-derived data application techniques include: for numerical models, “bogus” early detection from visible and infrared imagery; for retrieval of atmospheric parameters, the use of TIROS-N Operational Vertical Sounder (TOVS); for sea surface wind estimates, the NIMBUS-7 Scanning Multichannel Microwave Radiometer (SMMR); and innovative applications of other operational systems are reported, such as using Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) data for tracking mesoscale polar weather systems.
From the foreword
It is only rarely that entirely new phenomena are discovered in the atmosphere. The probability of making such discoveries should be steadily decreasing since the atmosphere is under almost constant surveillance and has been watched by polar orbiting and geostationary satellites for quite a number of years. Nevertheless, the polar low is a new discovery made certain by satellite observations.
From the preface
This volume contains most of the technical papers presented at the Fourth International Workshop on Polar/Arctic Lows held in Madison, Wisconsin, 30-31 March 1988 and contributed papers on the topic not formally presented at the meeting. This volume also contains additional technical papers on storms investigated in the Norwegian program as well as in other arctic regions and expands the topic to similar phenomena occurring near the Antarctic continent. Therefore, this volume is more than the proceedings of the meeting; it is a reference text on the topic, reporting on progress in the understanding of the origin, evolutions, and characteristics of these intense mesoscale winter storms. The progress in the understanding if the physics of the winter storms has led to numerical models that have prediction capability.
This book is unique in specifically addressing the polar weather phenomenon. A unique feature is that in one volume advances in theory and applications of satellite data are integrated to produce improved understanding and prediction capability. The book is truly international with contributors from seven countries–Canada, Denmark, France, Netherlands, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States–including such prestigious names as Aksel Wiin Nielson.
ISBN 0-937194-19-0, 1989, Hardcover, 430 pages