The Arctic has experienced the greatest temperature rise since the 1950s, it is the Epicentre of Climate Change. The study location is in the NATO region with the most rapidly warming temperature due to anthropogenic climate change. Greenhouse gases alter energy transfer, global wind systems, and the water cycle in the atmosphere. Meteorologists study the lower atmosphere extensively, but the middle atmosphere up to the edge of space is hardly explored.
At altitudes above approximately 30 km, knowledge about the atmosphere decreases drastically and only a few institutes have the capabilities to study temperatures or winds. This part of the atmosphere has still a poorly understood role in climate change since (a) its state is not measured routinely and (b) models of the atmosphere lack a proper representation of – partly unknown – processes.
The Polar Vortex, an extreme weather phenomenon way above altitudes where planes fly, is known to cause severe weather and dangers in North America and Europe. The north american winter snowstorm of 2022 grounded thousands of planes, killed more than 60 people, and was caused by Polar Vortex perturbations. Another example of the hazards from high altitude weather is the 2021 Texas power crisis. The picture depicts the Polar Night Jet, which forms the edge of the Polar Vortex and shows winds of up to 500 km/h. Turbulence is generated by excessive wind shears and poses a significant risk to aeroplanes. The influence of climate change on high-altitude winds, and consequently international aviation security, is unknown. However, climate simulations indicate that the Polar Vortex becomes unstable and moves the location of the Polar Night Jet, with unclear impacts on aviation security.
High altitude weather patterns that shift as a result of climate change may reveal new hazards. The project's goal is to measure temperatures and winds near new Scandinavian spaceports up to the Edge of Space. These new findings will be examined in order to identify emerging and unexpected security threats.