The Atmosphere Flagship focuses on measurements from the surface up to the upper atmosphere utilizing a wide array of different techniques and instruments.

Working groups

The Atmosphere Flagship has established eight working groups focusing on specific scientific questions. Each working group has one or two contact persons.

lead: Yutaka Tobo, H.C. Hansson

The work group focuses on three scientific questions concerning local and near regional processes affecting the formation and type of clouds, and their impacts, namely: (i) How does the local orography affect cloud formation and type?; (ii) What are the regional driving forces for cloud formation and type?; (iii) How does the aerosol affect the local and regional cloud formation?

Detailed observations of clouds and aerosols that are already being made from Ny-Ålesund and Zeppelin Observatory will be used together with an expanding network of meteorological observations from a range of surface types in the region around Ny-Ålesund to investigate cloud processes over Ny-Ålesund and to learn to what extent they are representative of cloud processes over the broader region. This group will work on joint publications based on ongoing data collection by several partners and on identifying and filling gaps in observations of regional cloud and aerosol properties.

lead: M. Maturilli

The scope of the work group is to put the various atmospheric observations in a broader temporal and spatial context. Focus activities will be the analysis of atmospheric long-term measurements in terms of climate change the combination of observations in the Svalbard region the interpretation of Svalbard observations with regard to the broader Arctic

The expanded approach includes hind-cast studies of available local and regional observations of meteorology, clouds, and radiation fluxes to detect trends and to investigate possible driving forces and feedbacks causing observed trends. Relevant oceanographic records as sea surface temperature, salinity and sea ice properties should also be included in the analysis. Furthermore, an exchange with the work group on clouds is necessary in the evaluation of long term trends.

The work group will bring together the experimental scientists presenting their long-term observations and modeling groups who may contribute to the interpretation of the observed trends (e.g. on topics such as  transport to the Arctic, radiative transfer, and the hydrological cycle). Additionally work will include:
contribute to the meta data collection provide information on the accessibility of the actual meteorological data broaden the meta data collection by including further observational parameters

lead: C. Ritter, A. Viola

The work group focuses on determining the processes and describing theoretically the local boundary layer. Current and near future research activities aim to improve the understanding of the stable boundary layer influence and occurrence of micrometeorological phenomena influence of surface types and properties on the BL structure coupling between local and synoptic processes.

These efforts shall reduce the gap between boundary layer properties in models and the orographically influenced observations in Ny-Ålesund. Therefore the work group is linked to those of aerosol and clouds via the comparability of measurements at different sites (namely the Zeppelin Observatory to the column above the village) and also contributes to the understanding of the representativeness of Ny-Ålesund. Hornsund Station is performing corresponding systematic lidar sounding of the atmosphere. One of the focuses is the determination of atmospheric boundary layer height, which could be analyzed in comparison to the Ny-Ålesund observations.          
The work group will arrange a meeting to improve cooperation, and agree on strategies for measurement sites and evaluation schemata for the future.   

lead: H.-W. Jacobi, J.-C. Gallet

Aerosols including black carbon (BC) in the Arctic are mainly due to long range transport, which is deposited onto the surface mainly through precipitation, but also through dry deposition. The work group will mainly focus on the effect on albedo of snow which can be a crucial climate feedback, and will combine measurements on sources attribution (biogenic vs. fossil sources) deposition rate onto the snow surface the amount of BC in the snow, including its vertical distribution.

Several atmospheric and snow physical parameters are already recorded by different groups and institutes at different locations around Ny-Ålesund, Barentsburg, Svea, Pyramiden, and Hornsund. Atmospheric and snow BC content, as well as some chemical parameters have also been measured at several places and data will be collected and merged. The work group will be in close contact with the glaciology flagship programme, and other snow related projects.
This group will meet to combine measurements to work on joint publications.

lead: R. Krejci

Aerosol research both in-situ and via remote sensing has already a long tradition in Ny-Ålesund. Long-term data sets of chemical, optical and microphysical properties of aerosol exist and are being continued to monitor the temporal and spatial distribution of these, and to understand pollution pathways, removal processes and interaction with clouds, trace gases and radiation.

From common campaigns and fieldwork a very good cooperation between the groups already exists, and the focus will be on writing jointly papers on existing data. A strong biomass burning event in Canada, which occurred over Ny-Ålesund during the week after 9. July 2015, provides a unique opportunity to gather all aerosol groups in Ny-Ålesund and the rest of Svalbard to prepare a joint publication. The work group will be connected to WG2 and WG3. 

lead: B.Petkov

The work group will analyze the variations in the ozone column and solar UV irradiance observed at the ground.

The enhanced variability in atmospheric conditions at Svalbard causes the corresponding variability in the air transparency that, combined with the specific surface features characterized by sea surface and complex relief of the snow-covered land, leads to significant changes in the solar UV irradiance reaching the Earth’s surface. Svalbard provides a great opportunity for studying the short- and median-term variations in the ozone column since the polar day allows us to obtain continuous time series within a period of several months.

The main goal of the planned study will be the relationship between the UV variations on one hand, and the changes in the ozone column and the meteorological factors, on the other. The field irradiance measurements will be analyzed together with the environmental parameters provided by different measurement techniques. The stations in Ny-Ålesund and the rest of Svalbard are equipped with diverse instruments measuring the surface UV irradiance and ozone column.
The work group will bring together the different actors for measurement intercomparisons and common publications.

lead: O. Hermannsen

The work group focuses on measurements of Atmospheric composition and air pollution monitoring, such as Greenhouse gas and trace gas measurements, inorganic compounds including sulphuric and nitrous compounds, heavy metals and persistent organic pollutants (POP’s).

Several groups are doing measurements on Svalbard today. There is a potential in cooperation between different groups combining already existing data, as well as in establishing new studies and projects.
This group will also focus on inter comparisons of instruments and data series.

lead: J. LilenstenY. L. Andalsvik

Svalbard is located inside of the auroral oval, a region called the “cusp”, experiencing permanent income of electrons of solar origin, called the “polar rain”. Combining the upper atmosphere research in Longyearbyen with similar activities in Ny-Ålesund offers additional capabilities for the study of the upper atmosphere for two main reasons: Ny-Ålesund is less light polluted than Longyearbyen, and the presence of permanent wintering staff allows for more refined experiments.

With several newly installed instruments, there is a good ground for further development of middle and upper atmosphere research in Ny-Ålesund. This new WG will collaborate closely with WG1, WG5 since the cloud coverage is of prime importance for optical observations, and the polarization observations provide very sensitive mean to detect the presence of aerosols. It will also collaborate with WG2 on the impact of the solar activity on the climate. 


The Atmosphere Research Flagship was initiated at a SSF workshop in Kjeller in 2008. The Atmosphere Flagship document describes the general flagship objectives, future research priorities, and gives an overview of institutions with atmospheric activities, and of atmospheric parameters measured in Ny-Ålesund.

The flagship has received funding from the Research Council of Norway through the Svalbard Strategic Grant for flagship activities on three occasions since 2015. Flagship activities have included:

  • Establishing work groups focusing on specific scientific questions
  • Independent work group meetings
  • Symposia
  • Guest visits
  • Planning and organization of joint field work
  • Jointly published papers


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Contact the flagship scientific committee

  • Radovan Krejci, Stockholm University (Chair)
  • Stephen R. Hudson, Norwegian Polar Institute (Co-chair)
  • Roland Neuber, Alfred-Wegener Institute
  • Ove Hermansen, Norwegian Institute for Air Research
  • Boris Ivanov, Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute
  • Grzegorz Karasiński, Polish Academy of Sciences
  • Satheesan Karathazhiyath, NCAOR
  • Yutaka Tobo, NIPR
  • Vito Vitale, CNR
  • Young Jun Yoon, KOPRI
  • Libo Zhou, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • Hans-Christian Hansson, Stockholm University
  • Christina A. Pedersen, Norwegian Polar Institute


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