Researchers Swarm the Arctic as Part of the SEARCH ProgramMarch 18, 2006
February and March are two of the coldest months in the Arctic with temperatures often hovering near -40 degrees C without any wind chill. Despite this, hardy NOAA researchers, engineers and technicians have chosen these two months to travel to points throughout the region to support the NOAA/Studies of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH) Atmospheric Observatory Program. Current program activities include:
- Scientists on the Island of Svalbard participating in an International Aerosol-Optical-Depth (AOD) sun photometer comparison project
- Installing new equipment and doing annual maintenance on radiation and surface flux instruments in Alert, Canada just before and after the polar sunrise.
- Inspecting and maintaining a cloud radar and aerosol cloud lidar as well as installing a new Polar Atmospheric Emitted Radiance Inteferometer in Eureka, Canada.
In case you can't find these places on a map (which is highly likely since these are the locations of research and weather stations, not towns or villages), Svalbard (79 N, 11.6E) is located in the Spitzbergen Archipelago north of Norway, Alert (82.5 N, 62.3W) is at the very Northern end of Ellsmere Island in the Canadian Archipelago and Eureka (80.05N, 86.4W) is just south of Alert along one of the many fjords that criss-cross Ellsmere Island.
NOAA-SEARCH is establishing and maintaining long-term detailed measurements that will be used to determine the mechanisms that force Arctic climate change. The program seeks to establish a number of intensive measurements that can be compared between Arctic regions and the NOAA activities in Canada strongly complement the long-term measurements at the NOAA Barrow Observatory in Alaska. The emphasis of the combined activities will be on determining attribution and developing databases and information that can be used for mitigation and adaptation strategies not only in the Arctic, but throughout the global climate system which is inextricably linked to Arctic changes.