What is STAR?

The Storm Studies in the Arctic (STAR) Research Network concentrated on the documentation, better understanding and prediction of meteorological and related hazards in the Arctic including their modification by local topography and land-sea-ice-ocean transitions, their impact on the local communities, and information that may lead to an assessment of hazard frequency assessment relative to a changing climate. In order to assess these issues, the network led a substantial field campaign during fall of 2007 and winter of 2008 to complement an extensive high-resolution modeling and remote sensing (including CloudSat) data set, which centred around the southern Baffin Island region and south eastern Nunavut. The variety of field observations includes surface-based Doppler radar, ground-based remote sensing (profiling radiometers, wind profiler), enhanced upper air soundings, special precipitation measurements, and research aircraft flights into the storms. The research aircraft carried variety of instruments onboard including cloud/precipitation physics, 3-D wind fields, thermodynamic fields, and airborne polarized Doppler radars (W and X-band).

The network encompassed multiple university and federal/territorial government researchers with expertise surrounding the study of the atmosphere, surface-atmosphere interactions and predictive aspects of storms.

STAR was initiated in early 2006 and all science operations ended on December 31, 2010. The network officially ended on March 31, 2011.

STAR BAMS article

STAR Objectives

To better understand severe Arctic storms, their associated hazardous conditions, and contribute to their better prediction. Most of the enhanced detailed measurements were made in the vicinity of Iqaluit, although analyses considers storms (including the remnants of Hurricane Noel) affecting other communities on southern Baffin Island.

1. Hazardous weather-related conditions in the Iqaluit area

2. Regional hazardous weather-related conditions and sea ice impacts

3. Prediction capabilities and improvements

4. User community interactions

More specifically, the main hazards investigated were:

1. Blizzards, blowing snow, severe wind chill and reduced visibility

2. Storms producing snow and mixed phase precipitation with significant accumulation

3. Storms, strong winds and their impact on sea ice

A 2006-2011 coordinated research network with major funding from the
Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences