ISSN 2070-7401 (Print), ISSN 2411-0280 (Online)
Sovremennye problemy distantsionnogo zondirovaniya Zemli iz kosmosa


Sovremennye problemy distantsionnogo zondirovaniya Zemli iz kosmosa, 2010, Vol. 7, No. 3, pp. 23-29

Comparative review of existing and perspective methods of the investigation of mesoscale lows including polar lows

E.V. Zabolotskikh 1, L.M. Mitnik 2, L.P. Bobylev 1
1 Scientific Foundation "Nansen International Environmental and Remote Sensing Centre" (Nansen Centre), 199034 St. Petersburg, 14 Line V.I. 7, 49
2 V.I. Ilichev Pacific Oceanological Institute, Far Eastern Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences (POI FEB RAS), 690041 Vladivostok, Russia, Baltiyskaya 43
Polar lows are short-living intense mesoscale atmospheric low pressure weather systems, developing poleward of
the main baroclinic zone and associated with high surface wind speeds. They can be observed in both hemispheres,
but the Arctic polar lows are significantly more intensive than Antarctic ones.
There are several factors complicating strongly the task of the polar low study: small size and short lifetime of polar
lows makes them quite difficult to detect; sparse synoptic observations cannot provide sufficient data for modeling
and forecasting; resolution of existing numerical weather models is not sufficient; most of polar lows are not revealed
at surface analysis maps.
The actuality of the polar low research is stipulated by a number of factors: polar lows are associated with heavy
snowfalls and high surface wind speeds, so having high destructive power; they are the threat to such businesses as
oil and gas exploration, fisheries and shipping; they could worsen because of global warming. Therefore, the study
of polar lows, their timely detection, tracking and forecasting represent a challenge for today science.
In the review the approaches in polar low studies are discussed. Several approaches can be distinguished among the
methods of the polar low study. The main of them include: deep insight into the mechanisms responsible for the
polar low genesis and elaboration of the theory of polar low generation and evolution; polar low modeling, which
encounters many difficulties due to the insufficient temporal and spatial resolution of the most of the modern models;
and - the analysis of the satellite data. The most informative studies include the comprehensive joint analysis of
satellite data from various instruments providing the most complete information about polar low development.
Keywords: mesoscale cyclones, polar lows, investigation approaches, satellite remote sensing
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