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2014-10-01

Wednesday October 01 weather briefing for ARISE, Fairbanks Alaska mission region

 

** target area of the day: calibration flights (3 potential targets: southwest, south-central, north) **

 

Current synoptic overview and short range forecast for next flight day Thursday Oct. 02:

 

Much of the state will be found within a col, with high pressure ridges located over the Bering Sea and over the Yukon Province...and low pressure systems over the central Beaufort Sea and Gulf of Alaska. The Gulf of Alaska low will be become quite intense with very high wind speeds at all altitudes and widespread deep-layered cloudiness and heavy precipitation. By 21z on Thursday October 02, this low pressure system will be centered on 54N and 148W. The Beaufort Sea low will be much broader and weaker by comparison. Expect broken to occasionally overcast mid and high cloud decks associated with that low with only light scattered snow precipitation. The remainder of the state will see fairly tranquil weather conditions.

 

Southwest Target area:

 

Once again, this region is primed to be the least cloudy with lightest winds at all altitudes. Good opportunities will present itself for shooting clear-sky profiles along 60N and between 152-160W. There should be some more liquid phase low clouds to the northwest of this clear band. Winds will primarily be out of the northeast and light below 3km, out of the northwest and light at 5km, and out of the north about 40kts at 8km. Tropopause heights will be high, around 11km here at temperatures around -55C.

 

South-Central target area:

 

The weather conditions within this region will be similar to the southwest target area except there may be some additional mid-layer (4-7km) ice phase cloud material...especially along 150W and between 62-65N. Also, this area will be near, but still to the north of the powerful Gulf of Alaska low spiraling to the south. Low clouds are not expect in the south-central target zone. Tropopause heights will be a little lower around 10km and at a temperature of about -53C. Winds will be light at most flight levels with varying direction. Some higher winds may be seen around 9km out of the southwest...around 75kts. Do not fly south of 60N towards the vicinity of the Gulf of Alaska low.

 

North target area:

 

Generally speaking, this area will be rather tranquil. Light winds will be found at all flight levels in the northern district. Low clouds will be broken to occasionally overcast over the Beaufort Sea adjacent to the north coast, but scattered to broken over land further south. Only thin transient bands of higher ice phase clouds will traverse this zone. No high cirrus is expected. The tropopause will be found around 8km at a temperature of about −40C. Any light snowfall will be confined to small patches along the coast between 150-160W.

 

Gary Partyka

NASA GSFC Global Modeling and Assimilation Office


Wednesday October 01 weather briefing for ARISE.pdf

2014-09-30

Tuesday September 30 weather briefing for ARISE, Fairbanks Alaska mission region

** target area of the day: calibration flights (3 potential targets: southwest, south-central, north) **

Current synoptic overview and short range forecast for next flight day Wednesday Oct. 01:

High pressure is firmly established across the Bering Sea and along the Southern tier of the state of Alaska.
A broad area of low pressure is located further north over the Beaufort Sea. Within this broad area, multiple
smaller but weak low pressure centers can be found rotating.  Precipitation in the form of freezing rain
or snow will be confined to the northwest quadrant of the state and also along the up-slope of the Brooks Range.

Southwest Target area:

Expect the best opportunity for clear sky profiles here. Cloud liquid and ice profiles within much of this
zone appear to be dry with very limited water, especially along and south of the 62nd latitude parallel.
Wind will be out of the northeast and light in the lowest few kilometers, and out of the northwest but still light
above. Tropopause heights/temperatures will average around 9.0km/-52C across much of this region.

South-Central target area:

Much the same conditions than the Southwest target area. Possibly a few more high thin cirrus clouds
around 6-8km 60-62N and along 150W.  Low level winds (1-3km) even weaker and variable direction.
Winds aloft light westerly.

North target area:

One smaller area of low pressure will rotate about a mean larger circulation further
north. This will parallel the north coast and overspread deep-later cloudiness here along with some
light precipitation. Tropopause heights will average around 7.5-8.0km in this target area with tropopause
temperatures around -46C. Winds will be westerly along the north coast at 3km altitude and about
40kts in magnitude, and 60kts at 5km.

Outlook for the succeeding day Thursday Oct. 02:

The well established ridge of high pressure bridged across the southern tier of the state begins to
gradually weaken along 150W. Over the Beaufort Sea, a broad low pressure occlusion remains
centered at 77N and 150W with at least one or two trailing frontal bands across the state with
associated deep-layer cloud cover and light precipitation. The southwest and south-central
coast of the state will continue to be favored for clear sky profiles.

Gary Partyka   
NASA GSFC Global Modeling and Assimilation Office

Tuesday September 30 weather briefing for ARISE.pdf

2014-09-29

Monday September 29 weather briefing for ARISE, Fairbanks Alaska mission region

** target area of the day: Calibration flights (3 potential targets: North, South-Central, Southwest) **

Current synoptic overview and short range forecast for next flight day Tuesday Sept. 30:

The large scale synoptic features include a broad low pressure circulation encompassing much
of the Beaufort Sea. A trough of low pressure will extend from this broad circulation over the Sea
along the far eastern border of Alaska with Canada. To the southwest, high pressure will build in from
the Bering Sea from west to east over this part of the state of Alaska. No significant storminess
is expected in this time-frame anywhere in any of the potential target regions. The northern flight
plan will most assuredly see the most deep-layer cloudiness with mixed rain-snow precipitation chances.
The southwest flight plan will categorically see the least amount of cloud coverage with good possibilities
of clear profile scenes which will be described in more detail below. The south-central flight plan may
also be a good opportunity for a combination of cirrus-free conditions and clear-sky profiles....however,
this flight plan may see some high northwest winds aloft, with speeds of up to 90kts between 8-9km.

If going for clear sky profiles along the southwest flight plan, a good opportunity for no-cloud scenes
will be centered on 60N and between 155-160W. There will be an increase in low cloud fraction
north of this latitude. Do not expect strong winds at any altitude anywhere in this target box. Tropopause
heights in this zone will be high and uniformly around 10.0-10.5km with temperatures here around -58C.
Except right near the surface, the entire profile will remain below the freezing point at 60N and 155-1660W.
The south-central flight plan weather will be similar to the southwest flight plan except for stronger
flight level winds and low tropopause heights/temperatures (~8.5km).

If going for the north flight plan, there will be a broken to overcast cloud deck over the Beaufort
Sea 70-75N. Mid-level cloudiness, though somewhat less, will also be present in this district...especially
over land (northeastern quadrant of the state). The scene should be fairly devoid of cirrus above 8km.
Expect tropopause heights in the northern target area to be around 6.5km. Winds within the northern
target area will be relatively weak at all flight levels. Direction will be easterly northern Beaufort and
westerly over the coast and land.

Outlook for the succeeding flight day Wednesday Oct. 01:

Much of the state will be situated on the northern and eastern periphery of high pressure located
over the central Bering Sea. This position relative to a high pressure center typically promotes fair weather
and very low chances for precipitation development. The southern tier of the state should see clear-sky scenes
once again on Wednesday especially along 60N and 135W-150W. Some enhanced multilayer cloud
decks may be present to the west of this.

Gary Partyka
NASA GSFC Global Modeling and Assimilation Office

Monday September 29 weather briefing for ARISE.pdf

2014-09-28

Sunday September 28 weather briefing for ARISE, Fairbanks Alaska mission region

** target area of the day: satellite underpass tracks in the area of 72-76N and 125-150W  **

Current synoptic overview and short range forecast for the next flight day, Monday Sept. 29:
A dip in the jet stream following an upper level trough is bringing north and
northwesterly winds to the western part of the state and southerly flow
ahead of the trough in eastern Alaska.  The well stacked upper level low
shows up as a 522 DAM low at 500 hPa centered over Barrow and moves eastward.
The surface cylcone and associated trough and frontal system is located
north of Barrow in the Beaufort Sea. Distinct bands of precipitation associated with
this frontal system and trailing trough can be seen in the forecast maps as
several areas of widespread precipitation.  Most of the state is free of
high clouds as the high clouds associated with the front have wrapped
around the low and stretch across the Beaufort Sea and down through
western Canada.  It may be challenging to find flight paths free
of rain, freezing rain, and snow at this time.

Outlook for succeeding flight day, Tuesday Sept. 30:
The 300 hPa jet stream trough pattern continues to move eastward bringing
northwesterly winds to most of the interior.  Winds in most of
western Canada are forecasted southerly  as the jet follows the eastern edge
of the upper level trough.  As the low over the southern Beaufort Sea
flattens and stretches eastward, a new 536 DAM low has formed at the base of
the trough near Ketchikan.  Tropopause heights in the 5-6 km range are
forecasted near the Alaska Canada border near the Beaufort Sea and in
the vicinity of Juneau. High clouds are absent in the target area
until the frontal band of clouds half way between the Alaska Canada
border and Banks Island.  At the surface, unsettled troughs and the
remains of frontal precipitation stretch across the state covering
areas from Kotzebue to Fairbanks and near Barrow and along the north
shore of the state.  Forecasted widespread areas of precipitation
and the lack of expansive cloud free zones may prove challenging
for flight planning purposes.

-- 
Austin Conaty, SSAI        Global Modeling and Assimilation Office

Sunday September 28 weather briefing for ARISE.pdf

2014-09-26

Friday September 26 weather briefing for ARISE, Fairbanks Alaska mission region

** target area of the day: satellite underpass tracks in the area of 72-76N and 125-150W  **

Current synoptic overview and short range forecast for the next flight day, Saturday Sept. 27:
The upper level flow indicates southerly flow in the eastern part of the state and strong northerly flow in the western portion of the state as a jet stream moves along the western half of a long wave trough.  The vertically stacked low in the Gulf of Alaska continues to move east and spread clouds and precipitation to the north and east while a 528 DAM low over western Russia approaches the Chukchi Sea. At the surface, precipitation and clouds are spreading into interior Alaska from the southern system while clouds and precipitation are spreading over the western half of northern Alaska from a frontal system to the northwest. While the clouds and precipitation from both frontal systems are converging on the target flight area, there is still a dry slot between the two systems where there are very few high and mid level clouds
between Fairbanks and Banks Island.

Outlook for succeeding flight day, Sunday Sept. 28:
Looks like a good day for a down day as clouds and precipitation dominate the weather picture between Fairbanks and Banks Island. Monday and Tuesday weather forecast is showing precipitation across much of the target area but is showing not much in the way of high clouds.

-- 
Austin Conaty, SSAI        Global Modeling and Assimilation Office

Friday September 26 weather briefing for ARISE.pdf

2014-09-25

Thursday September 25 weather briefing for ARISE, Fairbanks Alaska mission region

** target area of the day: satellite underpass tracks in the area of 72-76N and 125-150W  **

Current synoptic overview and short range forecast for the next flight day, Friday Sept. 26:
The upper level flow continues to be mostly westerly in the northern part of
the state but a combination of short wave features moving through and the advance
of a frontal system over the Alaska peninsula is causing southerly flow
and warm air advection in the south eastern region. Occasional cloudiness at
the mid level and significant high clouds are forecast for the northern
half of the state.  North of Barrow and through to Banks Island is relatively
cloud free at the high levels.  At the surface a ridge of high pressure
is squeezed and stretches from west to east with the 1032 hPA center
over the Beaufort Sea north of Barter Island.  Meanwhile a frontal
system over the Alaska peninsula and Gulf of Alaska advances.

Outlook for succeeding flight day, Saturday Sept. 27:
The dominant features in the Saturday forecast are an approaching
low pressure system now in the Chukchi Sea, High pressure centered
over Banks Island moving eastward, and the low and frontal system in
the Gulf of Alaska near Kodiak Island.  Although the forecast calls for
significant high clouds, there is a dry slot between the frontal band from
the southern system and the frontal band from the northern system.
The mid level clouds are present in interior Alaska near Fairbanks and
southward but there is a large area between Fairbanks and Banks Island that is
relatively free of mid level clouds.

Austin Conaty, SSAI        Global Modeling and Assimilation Office

Thursday September 25 weather briefing for ARISE.pdf

2014-09-24

Wednesday September 24 weather briefing for ARISE, Fairbanks Alaska mission region

** target area of the day: satellite underpass tracks in the area of 72-76N and 125-150W  **

Current synoptic overview and short range forecast for the next flight day, Thursday Sept. 25:
The upper level flow across the northern half of Alaska remains mainly from
the west to northwest. Fast moving short wave feature brings some cloudiness
and precipitation to an area from Kotzebue along a line stretching through Barrow and
eastward along the north coast and into the Beaufort Sea.  A surface high pressure
center is in place in the interior of the state stretching through western Canada.

The advancing short wave front/trough is fairly shallow and does not include much
in the way of high clouds in the target area.  A band of mid level clouds stretches
across the northern third of the state and there are some patches of mid level cloudiness
over the Beaufort Sea in the vicinity of Banks Island.  Low clouds cover much
of the target area including the northern 1/3 of the state and all of the southern
Beaufort Sea.

Outlook for succeeding flight day, Friday Sept. 26:
The dominant weather feature for Friday is the 532 dam low at 500mb and the
large cyclone frontal system at the surface moving into the southeastern
section of the state from the Gulf of Alaska.  The front is bringing
significant cloudiness and precipitation spreading north and east through Friday.
It's possible a flight out could miss most of the frontal clouds and precipitation
on takeoff but would most likely encounter significant high and mid cloud on the return leg of the flight.

Austin Conaty, SSAI        Global Modeling and Assimilation Office

 

Wednesday September 24 weather briefing for ARISE.pdf

2014-09-23

Tuesday September 23 weather briefing for ARISE, Fairbanks Alaska mission region

** target area of the day: satellite underpass tracks in the area of 72-76N and 125-150W  **

Current synoptic overview and short range forecast for the next flight day, Wednesday Sept. 24:
A weak frontal system and associated clouds and precipitation extend along the
northern and western half of the state from Point Hope through Barrow and across
the southern Beaufort Sea. Weak high pressure is building in from the southwest through
the interior of the state. A fairly decent jet stream extends from eastern Russia across
the northern half of Alaska with the maximum winds over the northwestern portion of the state.
There are very few high clouds in the forecast with the exception of an area above
and to the west of the Fairbanks region and an area to the north of Banks Island.
Mid level clouds are a different story with wide spread mid clouds along the way towards
Banks Island and these mid clouds become significantly thicker optically approaching 120W.
(see the QL/QI vertical profile plot at 73N attached)

Outlook for succeeding flight day, Thursday Sept. 25:
The mid-level jet stream energy in central Alaska continues working its way
across the state.  A weak elongated low pressure system remains in the South Beaufort Sea.
A high pressure ridge is seen extending northward from the Gulf of Alaska and
at the surface, high pressure dominates the weather picture for most of the state.
High clouds are few and far between in the projected flight area. Mid level clouds
will likely not be encountered until east of 140W and north of 70N. An impressive frontal
systems is approaching from the Bering Sea / Alaska Peninsula region and will likely
impact weather and flying conditions later in the week.

Tuesday September 23 weather briefing for ARISE.pdf

2014-09-22

Monday September 22 weather briefing for ARISE, Fairbanks Alaska mission region

** target area of the day: satellite underpass tracks in the area of 70-77N and 135-155W  **

Current synoptic overview and short range forecast for the next flight day, Tuesday Sept. 23:

As the remains of a cyclone frontal system to the south move east into Canada, a
polar low is moving to the north and east through western Alaska. The upper level low associated
with the frontal system continues moving eastward across the state with the help of an increasingly
strong upper level jet stream. By Tuesday afternoon this frontal system will be stretching across
most of the state with the southern edge of the cold front passing through the Bering Sea and
Nunivak Island and the northern edge of the frontal system wrapping around the low north of Barrow.
The clouds and associated precipitation will be accompanied by increasing winds generally from the west.

One area of particular interest may be the region in the Barrow Sea where cold dry air
behind the front has produced an area that is forecast to be free of mid to high level clouds.

Also worth mentioning is a region of low tropopause heights that moves
quickly through the region.  It is possible depending on the flight timing that
perhaps on the return trip, the flight may encounter this area of low tropopause heights.

Outlook for succeeding flight day, Wednesday Sept. 24:
The mid-level jet stream energy now in central Alaska will propagate another
trough/frontal system quickly through interior Alaska as several short wave features
make there way across the state.  This weaker fast moving system has scattered high clouds
but mostly overcast mid level clouds in the area of interest.

Austin Conaty
NASA GSFC Global Modeling and Assimilation Office

Monday September 22 weather briefing for ARISE.pdf

2014-09-21

Sunday September 21 weather briefing for ARISE, Fairbanks Alaska mission region

** target area of the day: satellite underpass tracks in the area of 70-77N and 135-155W  **

Current synoptic overview and short range forecast for the next flight day, Monday Sept. 22:

The Northern Coast of Alaska and Beaufort Sea will be located in the left-front quadrant of
increasing mid-level jet stream energy coming ashore the central part of Alaska. This will allow
a mean trough of low pressure to develop over the entire target region. On Monday, a leading
polar low will come ashore the northwestern portion of Alaska. This low will overspread
clouds and precipitation east to about 150W along the North Coast and Beaufort Sea. Further east 
on Monday, a stripe of deep multi-layer clouds and precipitation is expected with an older broad area of low
pressure between 73-75N and 130-150W. Winds aloft will generally be westerly and stronger west
of 150W while east of this, wind speeds will be much weaker. This puts the target area within the
zone of lighter winds. Between 1-2km, easterly winds of 30-40kts will be found on a band from
74-76N and 130-140W. Tropopause heights will be fairly uniform at around 8.0km near and in the
target area. Right near the vicinity of the polar low coming ashore northwest Alaska, these heights
will be somewhat lower, 6.5-7.0km.

Between the older low pressure system over the eastern Beaufort Sea and the incoming polar low
over northwest Alaska, much of the region will be found within low, middle, and high cloud decks.
Between 70-73N, there will be a maximum mixed phase and ice clouds along 160W. An opportunity
for profiles devoid of ice cirrus clouds may be present between 145-150W. Here, there should just
by broken or overcast low level liquid phase clouds below 2km. 

Outlook for succeeding flight day, Tuesday Sept. 23:

The mid-level jet stream energy coming into central Alaska will continue to carve out a  low
pressure trough over the Arctic district of northern Alaska and the Beaufort Sea. The mean
position of surface low pressure will shift a bit eastward. The more compact polar low
over Northwest Alaska Monday will become absorbed into more of a broader 992hPa low pressure 
complex further downstream on Tuesday, centered on 74N and 145W. This broad low will be 
accompanied by continued widespread cloudiness and generally light to moderate stratiform precipitation.  

Gary Partyka
NASA GSFC Global Modeling and Assimilation Office
Sunday September 21 weather briefing for ARISE.pdf

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