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Beaufort/Chukchi Seas Mesoscale Meteorology Modeling Study

Project summary:

Picture of the Beaufort Sea Mesoscale weather patterns and associated surface winds are important for evaluating dispersal and movement of oil spills and, in turn, assessing oil spill environmental impacts, as wind is the primary parameter driving ocean currents and sea ice motion. The Beaufort Sea and its adjacent continental areas are prominent geographical features which are largely covered by sea ice on a seasonal basis over the ocean and bounded by the Brooks Range in the south on land. The complex orographic dynamics and coast-ocean thermal contrast significantly complicate mesoscale weather systems and associated surface winds in this region. In addition, this area has been exhibiting great variability and change in sea ice, atmospheric, and oceanic conditions, which may further complicate the atmospheric circulation, underlying surface thermal conditions, and associated surface wind field. In this study, we will investigate the mesoscale weather patterns and associated surface wind field features in the Beaufort Sea and the adjacent continental areas.

The approach for this study is: (1) to collect both conventional and unconventional observational data and perform a data analysis to delineate mesoscale weather systems in the area; (2) to employ the existing state-of-the-art mesoscale meteorological models and conduct experimental simulations to evaluate model performance and to improve understanding of the impacts of model configuration and data assimilation methodology; and (3) to synthetically analyze observational and modeling data to elucidate the effects of physical processes (e.g. orographic dynamics and land-ocean thermal contrast) on formation, development, and spatial distribution of mesoscale features of weather systems and surface winds.


We again deployed our meteorological buoy to measure offshore conditions, this time in the Chukchi Sea, from July through September, 2011. See the current buoy page for a summary of the observations and here for pictures of the buoy.

A mid-term project meeting was held in Fairbanks, AK on November 18–19, 2010. The meeting agenda can be found here. Presentations are available here (password required).

We deployed a meteorological buoy to measure conditions in the Beaufort Sea from early August through mid-September, 2009. See the buoy page for a summary of the observations and here for pictures of the buoy throughout its journey.

Publications: A listing of all posters and presentations that have been produced as part of this project.

Data: Maps and locations of observational data collected throughout the study region, covering the period 1979–2009. Data is expected to be made public in Spring 2013.

Project Team:

Dr. Xiangdong Zhang (PI)University of Alaska Fairbanks
Dr. Martha ShulskiUniversity of Nebraska-Lincoln
Dr. Jing ZhangNorth Carolina A&T State University
Jeremy KriegerUniversity of Alaska Fairbanks
William BauleUniversity of Nebraska-Lincoln
Fuhong LiuNorth Carolina A&T State University
Steve StegallNorth Carolina A&T State University
Wei TaoNorth Carolina A&T State University
Jinsheng YouUniversity of Nebraska-Lincoln

Contact Information:

Jeremy Krieger (webmaster)

Arctic Region Supercomputing Center (ARSC)
University of Alaska Fairbanks
909 Koyukuk Dr., P.O. Box 756020
Fairbanks, AK 99775-6020

Phone: 907-450-8632

This project is funded by the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) (contract #0106CT39787). The project team would like to acknowledge the Geographic Information Network of Alaska (GINA) for developing the communication forum and framework for this website.

Note: A password is required to access the Internal Project area.
January 2, 2013