The impact of Arctic radiosonde observations on the forecasting of the 2012 early August Arctic cyclone AC12—the “strongest” since records began—has been investigated using an observing system experiment (OSE). An atmospheric ensemble reanalysis (ALERA2) was used as the control experiment (CTL) to reproduce the development of the Arctic cyclone and surrounding large-scale atmospheric fields. The OSE applies the same reanalysis as the CTL except for the exclusion of radiosonde observations from the German icebreaker Polarstern, which cruised near Svalbard during mid-July to early August 2012. Comparison of the two reanalyses revealed a difference in the upper tropospheric circulation over northern mid-Eurasia, just before the Arctic cyclone developed, in the form of a stronger tropopause polar vortex in the CTL. This indicated that the upper tropospheric field in the CTL had greater potential for baroclinic instability over mid-Eurasia. Ensemble predictions were then conducted using the two reanalyses as initial values at which the tropopause polar vortex approached northern mid-Eurasia. The CTL prediction reproduced the formation of the Arctic cyclone, but the OSE shows a significantly weaker one. These results indicate that the improved reproduction of upper tropospheric circulation in the Arctic region due to additional radiosonde observations from a mobile platform was indispensable for the prediction of AC12. In particular, observations being acquired far from the Arctic cyclone affect the prediction of the cyclone via the upper tropospheric circulation in the atmospheric west wind drift.
AWI Organizations > Climate Sciences > Polar Meteorology