US interests in the Arctic are increasing with the changes observed in the region’s climate that are impacting local economies and lifestyles. In particular, the regional commercial fishing enterprise is expanding; there are new opportunities for mining of natural resources; there is growth in the region’s tourism industry, especially with milder temperatures and the ice-free Northwest Passage (Alaska to New York) in summer months; and new maritime transport routes are opening up, which also present national security concerns. NOAA and NWS are developing additional analytical capabilities to provide better decision support services to users, especially for those decisions requiring consideration of longer-term information for planning, preparedness, and reducing risks from extreme weather (e.g., extreme temperatures, precipitation events, sea ice changes, etc.) Analysis capabilities for the Arctic region will be added to the NOAA NWS Local Climate Analysis Tool (LCAT, nws.weather.gov/lcat
), that was launched in 2015 (https://doi.org/10.1175/BAMS-D-13-00187.1
The LCAT Arctic capabilities will enable the study of influences between sea ice, local weather and water elements, identify trends in sea ice concentration and extent at various Arctic locations, and help users discover possible relationships between sea ice and climate variability, such as the Arctic Oscillation, North Atlantic Oscillation, and other climate phenomena. The LCAT Science Advisory Team (SAT), consisting of subject matter experts from NOAA, the Western Regional Climate Center, and the University of Alaska Fairbanks, recommended data and analysis techniques for the new LCAT Arctic capabilities, including Climate Forecast System Reanalysis data for sea ice thickness and extent. This paper will describe the scientific details of the LCAT SAT recommendations, provide a description of the scientific techniques to be used for analysis of Arctic data, and demonstrate the use of LCAT for NWS decision support services in the Arctic region.