Researchers on expedition to solve 'small island problem'

December 22, 2014, University of Bath

Researchers from the Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering are starting their new year with an expedition to the island of South Georgia to carry out research into improving weather forecasting. You can follow the team's progress on their blog.

Whilst the rest of us are preparing to celebrate on New Year's Eve, the research team, led by Professor Nick Mitchell, will be taking off from RAF Brize Norton to fly to the Falkland Islands. Once there, they will transfer on to a ship for the four-day, 1000 miles journey to the remote and inhospitable South Georgia.

The South Georgia Wave Experiment (SG-WEX) will see the team carrying out observational and modelling experiments on atmospheric waves in the troposphere, stratosphere and mesosphere in the island area. The will set up unique equipment to gather data about the nature and variability of these waves over the coming year.

The mountaineous island is a British overseas territory in the southern Atlantic Ocean, lies in the southerly latitudinal region known as the 'furious fifties' for its severely turbulent wind conditions. The size and conditions of the island cause real problems for numerical weather prediction/climate models, which cannot accurately model waves from too small in comparison to the resolution of the models. This is widely known as the 'small island problem'.

The results will give us a better understanding of the fundamental physics of atmospheric , innovate new satellite analysis techniques and help to solve the 'small island problem'.

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