MOSAiC Overview Presentation at 2012 American Geophysical

Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory
for the Study of Arctic Climate
Matthew Shupe – U. of Colorado
Ola Persson – U. of Colorado
Michael Tjernström – Stockholm U.
Klaus Dethloff – Alfred Wegener Inst.
And many others
Dukhovskoy et al. 2006
Francis et al. 2009
Arctic in Transition
The central Arctic is changing dramatically,
characterized by major sea-ice decline & more younger ice.
Do we know why? and (importantly) how?
Courtesy J. Stroeve
Implications of Change
• We lack a system- and process-level understanding of change, due to a
lack of observations!
• Potential emergence of new processes
• Change can lead to critical tipping points, acceleration via feedbacks
• Implications for regional and lower-latitude weather
• Implications for resource development, commerce, ecosystem
changes, communities
Francis et al. 2009
Critical Model Shortcomings
Regional Climate Models evaluated against SHEBA radiative fluxes reveal major
biases and spreads, especially under clouds.
Such biases can have serious implications for sea-ice concentrations.
~ 0 W m-2
~ 0 W m-2
~-10 W m-2
~-25 W m-2
Tjernström et al. 2008
Critical Model Shortcomings
Comparison of IPCC AR4
models of sea-surface salinity:
Major differences suggest lack
of consistency in important
processes such as ocean
mixing, dynamics, sea-ice
processes, freshwater input,
and/or others.
Best estimate of actual field
based on observations
Holland et al. 2007
The MOSAiC Plan
Multi-year, coordinated, and comprehensive
measurements, extending from the atmosphere through the
sea-ice and into the ocean, are needed in the central Arctic
Basin to provide a process-level understanding of the
changing central Arctic climate system that will contribute
towards improved modeling of Arctic climate and weather,
and prediction of Arctic sea-ice concentrations.
The MOSAiC Plan
1) Deploy heavily instrumented,
manned, ship-based, Arctic Ocean
observatory for comprehensive,
coordinated observations of the
Arctic atmosphere, cryosphere,
and ocean.
2) Network of spatial measurements
to provide context and variability
(buoys, gliders, UAVs, aircraft,
ships, satellites, ice stations).
3) Coordinated modeling activities at
many scales from process-study to
regional climate models.
The MOSAiC Plan
When: Start 2017-2018, covering
multiple annual cycles if possible
Where: Central Arctic Basin ice pack
September 2011 sea ice extent (courtesy NSIDC). Numerous
drift tracks of stations suggest possible observatory tracks
• Coordinated through IASC
• International participation
(e.g. US, Germany, Sweden,
France, Russia, Finland, Norway,
Canada, Korea, Japan, China,….)
• International infrastructure
• Synchronized international
MOSAiC Science Questions
“What are the causes and consequences of an
evolving and diminished Arctic sea ice cover?”
Thematic Sub-questions
o How do ongoing changes in the Arctic ice-ocean-atmosphere system
drive heat and mass transfers of importance to climate and ecosystems?
o What are the processes and feedbacks affecting sea-ice cover,
atmosphere-ocean stratification and energy budgets in the Arctic?
o Will an ice-reduced Arctic become more biologically productive and
what are the consequences of this to other components of the system?
o How do interfacial exchange rates, biology and chemistry couple to
regulate the major elemental cycles?
o How do the different scales of spatial and temporal heterogeneity
within the atmosphere, ice and ocean interact to impact the linkages or
feedbacks within the system?
Process Perspective
Process-study vs. climatology
Process is better suited to parameterization evaluation and development
Requires complex measurements to characterize interdependent processes
Distributed measurements for spatial variability & context on key parameters
profiling, BL,
& dynamics
gases, aerosols,
clouds & precip.
+ UASs
ocean and
ice bio/chem
ocean state,
profiling, &
ice profiling,
mass budgets
leads & ocean surface
Planning the Drift Track
Transpolar Drift track
• Observe full sea-ice “life
cycle,” starting in new ice.
• Trajectory that will last for
at least (more than) 1 year
2011 • Observe an understudied
Will this be possible?
Full Annual Cycle
Perovich et al. 2008
Persson et al. 2002
• Arctic climate system has memory. Sea-ice integrates energy budgets.
• Processes vary over the annual cycle.
• Important to understand all phases of the sea-ice life cycle:
Formation > growth > transport/deformation > melt/decay/export
• Past observations biased towards summer (warm, easy);
Relatively little understanding of winter processes.
Building off the Past
Previous experiences within the
Arctic ice pack:
Russian drifting stations
Shorter-term campaigns
Many disciplinary obs.
Some inter-disciplinary obs.
Each of these has key limitations:
Length of time
Spatial context
Not in the “new” Arctic
Russian drifting station
Central Model Role
Models play critical roles:
• Identify important
measurements, processes
• Guide drift track
• Integrate process
• Provide spatial context
• Linkage w/ lower latitudes
Model considerations:
• Hierarchy of model activities: process, regional, global
• Regional model intercomparison project
• Model “testbed” > Critical data for parameterization eval & development
• Strong ties with WWRP Year of Polar Prediction (YOPP)
MOSAiC into the Future
Tentative MOSAiC Schedule
Develop Science Plan – winter>spring 2013
Implementation Workshop and Plan – fall 2013
MOSAiC Open Science Meeting – likely 2014
Start serious funding discussions: 2013>
Logistics planning 2013>
Preparatory modeling & instrument development 2013>
Field deployment October 2017?, 2018?
Please get involved!

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