The field experiment ARKTIS 1991 was an expedition planned by meteorologists of the Collaborative Research Centre 318 entitled "Climatically relevant processes in the system ocean-atmosphere-ice" which is funded by the German Research Foundation and established at the University of Hamburg. The expedition took place in the Norwegian Sea between Northern Norway, Bear Island and Jan Mayen during the period 17 February until 15 March 1991.
The main aim of the experiment was the investigation of cold air outbreaks from the surrounding Arctic ice sheets. During such weather episodes the air mass coming from the ice is rapidly modified over the water due to the contrasts in temperature, heat conduction, humidity and roughness between ice and water. This leads to the formation of a "new" boundary layer. Its depth, mean temperature and moisture increases with increasing distance from the ice edge mainly due to sensible and latent heat supply from the ocean.
The investigations of cold air outbreaks and Arctic stratus by scientists of the Collaborative Research Centre 318 began already three years before with the field experiment ARKTIS 1988 which took place in the area west of Spitsbergen in May 1988. ARKTIS 1991 is a continuation of this work under winterly weather conditions. ARKTIS 1991 was followed by the experiment ARKTIS 1993.
As in ARKTIS 1988 the research vessel Valdivia and the two research aircraft FALCON-20 of the DLR at Oberpfaffenhofen and DO-128 of the TU Braunschweig were at our disposal. Radiosonde measurements were performed on board of RV Valdivia and on Bear Island.