Arctic (and Antarctic) Observing Experiment - an Assessment of Methods to Measure Temperature over Polar Environments
Friday, 19 December 2014: 2:25 PM
The Arctic environment has been undergoing profound changes; the most visible is the dramatic decrease in Arctic sea ice extent (SIE). These changes pose a challenge to our ability to measure surface temperature across the Polar Regions. Traditionally, the International Arctic Buoy Programme (IABP) and International Programme for Antarctic Buoys (IPAB) have measured surface air temperature (SAT) at 2-m height, which minimizes the ambiguity of measurements near of the surface. Specifically, is the temperature sensor measuring open water, snow, sea ice, or air? But now, with the dramatic decrease in Arctic SIE, increase in open water during summer, and the frailty of the younger sea ice pack, the IABP has had to deploy and develop new instruments to measure temperature. These instruments include Surface Velocity Program (SVP) buoys, which are commonly deployed on the world’s ice-free oceans and typically measure sea surface temperature (SST), and the new robust Airborne eXpendable Ice Beacons (AXIB), which measure both SST and SAT. “Best Practice” requires that these instruments are inter-compared, and early results showing differences in collocated temperature measurements of over 2°C prompted the establishment of the IABP Arctic Observing Experiment (AOX) buoy test site at the US Department of Energy (DOE) Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) site in Barrow, Alaska. Preliminary results showed that the color of the hull of SVP buoys introduces a bias due to solar heating of the buoy. Since then, we have recommended that buoys should be painted white to reduce biases in temperature measurements due to different colors of the buoys deployed in different regions of the Arctic or the Antarctic. Measurements of SAT are more robust, but some of the temperature shields are susceptible to frosting. During our presentation we will provide an intercomparison of the temperature measurements at the AOX test site (i.e. high quality DOE/ARM observations compared with unattended buoy measurements, and satellite retrievals). We will also show how these data may be used to improve our record of temperature over polar environments.