ESRL/PSD Seminar Series

The Tiksi Hydrometeorological International Climate Observatory:

Taniel Uttal


Since 2005, Roshydromet, NOAA, and NSF have been partnering to develop an International Climate Observatory in Tiksi, Russia. This has involved a long and complicated process that has involved not only the challenges of travel, planning, and construction in a remote Arctic region but also the development of documented, bureaucratic procedures to allow NOAA and Roshydromet to "do business together" to support the common mission to determine causes and effects of Arctic climate change. From inception, it was agreed that the emphasis would be on complex research directed toward understanding the interrelated components of the Arctic climate system, including atmospheric chemistry, permafrost degradation, coastal erosion, radiation balances, direct and indirect effects of clouds and aerosols on atmospheric radiation, and surface energy and gas flux balances/ exchanges. Some of the Tiksi science "drivers" have included: Atmospherically, Tiksi is located in an atmospheric confluence region that creates a natural laboratory to study variable air masses originating in the various source regions of Russia, Northern America, Europe, and Central Asia. Tiksi is located at the mouth of the Lena River which is the second largest river draining into the Arctic Ocean; the 524 km3/year of mean discharge is second only to the Yenisei (586 km3/yr). The Lena is the only major Russian River for which most of the drainage basin is underlain by permafrost, making it hydrologically complex and particularly vulnerable to climatic warming. Tremendous stores of carbon are presently locked in the permafrost of this river basin, and the evolution of precipitation and evaporation patterns are very important for regional changes in the surface fluxes of CO2 (increases to atmosphere with surface drying) and CH4 (increases to atmosphere with increasing surface wetness). The Laptev Sea is an area of such large ice production that it has been termed "the ice factory of the Arctic Ocean" and is the source of much of the sea ice that transits the Arctic Ocean and exits through the Fram Strait. This influences deep convection processes in the Greenland Sea, which is seen as a possible factor in long-term variability of the Earth climate. On August 25, 2010, an official opening ceremony was held at the Tiksi Observatory and the facility is now moving into an operational phase as a multinational and multiagency climate observatory. This presentation will be a sightseeing photographic- and video-oriented introduction, update, and status report on the Tiksi facility. It is intended to be of interest to (1) the scientists and engineers that contributed to current measurement programs, (2) potential future users of the facilities and the data streams, and (3) the army of administrative, IT, and staff that have supported development over the last five years.

Friday, October 1 2010

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