The Arctic Winter Special Observing Period (SOP1) of the Year of Polar Prediction (YOPP) commences today, on February 1st, 2018. We are excited to witness extensive extra observations to be conducted by the YOPP community at numerous Arctic stations, as a part of YOPP-endorsed field campaigns, and by autonomous instruments. These observations will help us shed light on the value of different kinds of measurements for environmental prediction in the Arctic and beyond. Numerical experimentation with these observations and internationally coordinated verification activities, in particular at YOPP Supersites where forecast centres will provide model data in unusual detail, will help us understand causes for forecast deficiency and provide guidance for the design of the future polar observing system.

Extra Radiosonde Launches
At various stations across the Arctic, extra radiosondes will be launched at increased frequency (up to six times per day). Numerous national weather services, EUMETNET, and academic research institutions are providing the material and human resources for overall more than 1,500 additional radiosonde launches. For an overview of extra radiosoundings during YOPP, including SOP1, please see our kml file for download at http://www.polarprediction.net/yopp-activities/yopp-observations-layer/.

Buoy Deployments
Arctic researchers and collaborators of the International Arctic Buoy Programme (IABP) have been busy distributing autonomous measurement platforms in the Arctic during the past months. Despite substantial progress, a good coverage of the Arctic Ocean with buoys is a continuous challenge. Thanks to a collaboration between the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (AARI), EUMETNET, WMO, and IABP, the first few of overall about two dozens of buoys to be distributed close to the Eurasian Arctic coast will be deployed from Cape Baranova and by Russian vessels during the coming two months.

YOPP-endorsed Field Campaigns
A number of field campaigns carried out under challenging winter conditions as part of YOPP-endorsed projects will provide specific measurements that will shed light on key polar processes that need better understanding and representation in weather and climate models. For example, the campaigns MACSSIMIZE (pdf) and IGP (pdf), both with a major airborne component, will scrutinize processes governing the interaction between the ocean or land surface and the peculiar polar atmospheric boundary layer. Details on these and other valuable YOPP-endorsed projects contributing to the current SOP can be found through the YOPP Explorer.

Social Media
During the next two months, we will share SOP1 activities, in particular related to extra observations from stations and in the field, via social media, so you should not miss following us on Twitter @polarprediction  Moreover, you are heartily invited to post a tweet or picture yourself. Make sure to tag @polarprediction and to use #polarprediction and #YOPPextraobs so we can re-tweet you!

After almost six years of planning, we are delighted for the first SOP to finally launch. For any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us via .