Polar Observations and Processes

A Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH)
Arctic Atmospheric Observatories

The Atmospheric Observatory Element of the NOAA/SEARCH programs intends to to mirror the Barrow atmospheric measurements, first in northeastern Canada, and later in central Siberia.


The NOAA Atmospheric Observatory program is establishing long-term, intensive measurements of clouds, radiation, aerosols, surface energy fluxes and chemistry in Eureka/Alert Canada and Tiksi, Russia. These measurements will allow comparison with similar observatory measurements in Barrow, Alaska. The three sites in combination encompass 3 different major Arctic climate regimes. The locations and measurement suite has been carefully designed so that the collected data can be used to determine the mechanisms that drive climate change through a combination of process studies, satellite validation and modeling work. It is anticipated that the Atmospheric Observatory sites will also be the focus of a number of interdisciplinary measurements of regional hydrology, permafrost, ecosystems and the cryosphere that will link the atmospheric measurements into the broader Arctic system. The program is heavily leveraged against Canadian and Russian programs, and has a vigorous interagency cooperation with NSF and DOE.

An integral part of this program is the support of international networks for observing the earth's atmosphere including:

Status (November 2007)

  • 2004 - Radiation sensors and aerosol sensors were installed in Alert, Canada at the existing Global Atmosphere Watch Station
  • 2005 - Cloud radar, High Spectral Resolution Lidar (HSRL) installed in Eureka, Canada in collaboration with the Canadian Network for Detection of Atmospheric Change
  • 2006
    • Polar Atmospheric Emitted Radiance Interferometer and microwave radiometer installed in Eureka, Canada
    • Weather station rebuilt in Tiksi, Russia
  • 2007
    • Planning meeting organized with NSF and Roshydromet to develop observatory facilities in Tiksi, Russia.
    • Visit to Tiksi, Russia to finalize site layout and building plans/location
    • Installation of micrometeorological tower in Eureka, Canada

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Did you know...

The word Arctic comes from the Greek word meaning bear. The name refers either to the northern constellations Ursa Major, the "Great Bear", or Ursa Minor, the "Little Bear".