13 Apr 2023
 | 13 Apr 2023

Environmental conditions in the North Atlantic sector of the Arctic during the HALO–(AC)³ campaign

Andreas Walbröl, Janosch Michaelis, Sebastian Becker, Henning Dorff, Irina Gorodetskaya, Benjamin Kirbus, Melanie Lauer, Nina Maherndl, Marion Maturilli, Johanna Mayer, Hanno Müller, Roel A. J. Neggers, Fiona M. Paulus, Johannes Röttenbacher, Janna E. Rückert, Imke Schirmacher, Nils Slättberg, André Ehrlich, Manfred Wendisch, and Susanne Crewell

Abstract. The airborne field campaign HALO–(AC)³ took place from 07 March to 12 April 2022 and was designed to observe the transformation of air masses during their meridional transport in the North Atlantic sector of the Arctic. We evaluate the meteorological and sea ice conditions during the campaign based on the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) Reanalysis v5 (ERA5), satellite data, and atmospheric soundings with respect to climatology and describe special synoptic events. HALO–(AC)³ started with a warm period (11–20 March) where strong southerly winds prevailed that caused moist and warm air intrusions (MWAIs). Two MWAIs were detected as Atmospheric Rivers (ARs). Compared to the ERA5 climatology (1979–2022), record breaking vertically integrated poleward heat and moisture fluxes averaged over 75.0–81.5° N were found. The related warm and moist air masses reached the central Arctic, causing the highest rainfall rates over the sea ice northwest of Svalbard recorded since the beginning of the ERA5 climatology. Subsequently, the cold period of HALO–(AC)³ started after the passage of a Shapiro–Keyser cyclone on 21 March when the wind regime turned to northerlies, advecting colder air into the Fram Strait. Until 08 April, marine cold air outbreaks (MCAOs) prevailed, including two strong MCAO events on 21–26 March and 01–02 April. In between, aged subpolar warm air was advected to the Fram Strait with northeasterly and easterly winds. On average, the campaign period was warmer than the climatology, especially due to the exceptionally strong ARs during the warm period. In the Fram Strait, the sea ice concentration (SIC) was within the 10–90th percentiles of the climatology over the entire campaign duration. During the warm period, SIC was strongly reduced and an untypically large polynya for this season opened north of Svalbard. During the cold period, the polynya was closed again and above average SICs were found. We describe the environmental conditions of a Polar Low and far north reaching cirrus in detail, which will be subjects of research using HALO's remote sensing suite in the future. We also present the perspective on the HALO–(AC)³ weather conditions from the research site Ny–Ålesund, where orographic effects caused by the Svalbard archipelago and temporal shifts of atmospheric signals due to the propagation of synoptic systems must be taken into account. Overall, our study may serve as basis for future analyses of the data collected during HALO–(AC)³ and to compare synoptic conditions with other field campaigns.

Andreas Walbröl et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-668', Anonymous Referee #1, 01 May 2023
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Andreas Walbröl, 10 Jul 2023
      • AC3: 'Reply on AC1', Andreas Walbröl, 20 Jul 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-668', Anonymous Referee #2, 28 May 2023
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Andreas Walbröl, 10 Jul 2023
      • AC4: 'Reply on AC2', Andreas Walbröl, 20 Jul 2023

Andreas Walbröl et al.

Andreas Walbröl et al.


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Short summary
We present the weather and sea ice conditions and climatological context of the airborne HALO–(AC)3 campaign, which took place over the North Atlantic sector of the Arctic from 07 March to 12 April 2022. From the ERA5 reanalysis, we identified record breaking warm air intrusions and a large variety of marine cold air outbreaks. Sea ice concentration was mostly within the interquartile range of the climatology. Our study serves as basis for future analyses of the data collected during HALO–(AC)3.