EMS Annual Meeting 2019

The Annual Meetings of the EMS aim at fostering exchange and cross-fertilization of ideas in the meteorological, climatological, and related communities. Facilitating interactions, integration, and engagement of science, applications, and actors is our core objective. The session programme highlights these goals and offers many opportunities for enhancing collaboration across the entire weather and climate enterprise (public, private, academic, users, and NGOs) to benefit societies in Europe and worldwide.

In addition, a particular focus of the 2019 Annual Meeting, reflecting the interests and activities of the host institutions, will be on Arctic (and Antarctic) issues and challenges.

The Arctic: the new frontier for weather, ice and climate research, forecasting, and services

Surface temperature in the Arctic has increased at approximately twice the global rate. Simultaneously, the sea-ice area has decreased in all seasons, glaciers have been retreating, freshwater, soils, and permafrost have been warming, and precipitation and river discharges into the Arctic Ocean have increased. These changes have dramatic impacts on the ecology and societies of the Arctic, raising issues for future safety, socio-economic impacts, and infrastructure investments, thus underlining the urgent need for a better understanding of all relevant processes of the Earth system. Moreover, this Arctic amplification may affect mid-latitudes, possibly with more frequent extreme weather events, and thus needs dedicated attention. The EMS 2019 Annual Meeting will address these issues in an integrated and comprehensive way, also including Antarctic issues. More specifically, key focuses of attention will be the following.

Monitoring systems

Monitoring systems in the Arctic are few, sparsely distributed, and difficult to maintain due to the harsh environment. Better understanding of changes as well as new forecasting services will thus require development of tailored and integrated observation networks including satellite-based systems for meteorological, climate, sea-ice, snow, and air quality parameters.

Understanding ongoing processes

Interactions between the cryosphere and the atmosphere are a specific challenge to understand and predict ongoing processes in the Arctic. Warming Arctic air masses and declining sea ice are believed to affect ocean circulation and the jet stream. Thus, the science underpinning Arctic weather and climate predictions needs dedicated attention.

Short-lived climate forcers

Short-lived climate forcers (e.g. aerosols, ozone), which are also air pollutants, have special effects in the Arctic, such as Arctic haze and blackening of the ice/snow cover. Increased human activities will induce more pollution sources with a possibly broad influence on climate globally. Thus, climate and air quality impacts require joint assessment.

Socio-economic changes

A warming Arctic will induce more human activities together with the opening of the north-eastern passage for merchant ships, new land transport corridors, and tourism, but also new potential for renewable energy. However, the thawing permafrost and deployment of oil rigs will impact the environment, implying new risk assessments and services.

Products and services

These new drivers and challenges will raise a need for new products and services, e.g. tailored local weather, ice coverage, and ice drift predictions. Protection of this pristine environment should entail development of renewable energy potential but also solving of technological challenges due to the harsh conditions in the Arctic. Moreover, the aurora belt environment will require new services related to space weather in support of navigation and communication.

International programmes

Evidence of the recent recognition of the importance of the Arctic is exemplified by recent major international programmes, e.g. the WMO Year of Polar Prediction, the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme, the Sustaining Arctic Observing Networks, the International Arctic Systems for Observing the Atmosphere, or the Pan-Eurasian Experiment (PEEX). Interactions between these or new initiatives and ongoing or future research should also be addressed during the EMS2019 Conference.

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