Navy Arctic exercise tests readiness while advancing scientific research
By AARON KIDD | STARS AND STRIPES Published: March 21, 2016
Sailors are trying to accurately forecast arctic weather for the first time from a temporary station on an ice floe in an attempt to predict the harsh conditions that can constrain military operations in the Arctic Circle.
In the region for ICEX 2016 — a five-week exercise designed to test the Navy’s operational readiness while advancing scientific research — aerographer’s mates from Fleet Weather Center in Norfolk, Va., are combining advanced atmospheric monitoring systems with traditional methods, such as cloud observation and weather balloons, to develop “tightly coupled weather, ocean and ice models to accurately forecast the harsh arctic conditions up to 90 days,” a Navy statement said.
“The extreme weather patterns within a data-sparse region make this a very challenging learning opportunity,” Aerographer’s Mate 2nd Class Zachary Yanez, of La Habra, Calif., said in the statement. “I am excited to be one of the few aerographer’s mates that gets the opportunity to tackle this experiment and contribute to the further understanding of this ever-changing region.”
Since ICEX began earlier this month, the sailors have detected average temperatures of minus 14 degrees Fahrenheit with wind chills reaching minus 46, said Aerographer’s Mate 1st Class Daryl Meer, of Hauppauge, N.Y.
“Providing accurate weather forecasts is critically important to the safety of personnel and operations [in the arctic],” he said. “These weather conditions can be deadly and extremely detrimental to operations if not properly understood.”
Aerographer's Mate 2nd Class Zachary Yanez, left, explains the capabilities of the Advanced Automated Weather Observation System to Rear Adm. Timothy Gallaudet during Ice Exercise 2016, a five-week exercise designed to research, test and evaluate operational capabilities in the region.
TYLER THOMPSON/U.S. NAVY PHOTO