1st Combat Weather Squadron, Detachment 3, hosts second annual Arctic Weather Workshop

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Carson Jeney
  • 1st Combat Weather Squadron, Detachment 3

The 1st Combat Weather Squadron, Detachment 3, hosted the second annual Arctic Weather Workshop at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Jan. 16-19, 2024, to promote discussions between the Department of Defense, its partner countries, as well as academics and professors here in Alaska.

The workshop was held to relay the importance of air power regarding Arctic operations to key Meteorological and Oceanographic (METOC) leaders from across the DoD and NATO as well as address civilian institutions in attendance to emphasize the important role they play in sharing their Arctic expertise with the military.

“Over the last year with Finland joining NATO and Sweden in the process of ascending into NATO, we're starting to have a lot more of our NATO partners that operate in the high north,” said U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Michael Adcock, U.S. Air Forces in Europe, manager, readiness and logistics, weather branch. “So that's going to be an area that we're going to really start seeing further focus on, as the Arctic remains a strategic interest for us.”

Residing at the intersection between the U.S. homeland and two critical theaters, Indo-Pacific and Europe, the Arctic is an increasingly vital region for U.S. national security interests according to Department of Air Force Arctic Strategy. By working together to better understand the weather in the Arctic, the 354th Fighter Wing can better execute Pacific Air Forces’ strategic priorities.

“Weather is everything in the Arctic,” said Jennifer Delamere, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Geographic Information Network of Alaska, director, and snow, ice, and permafrost group, faculty member. “You're going to be putting people, ships, and airplanes out there. You need to understand the nuances of the weather and how it's changing. I really appreciate this group of experts and what we're hearing about the climate. When you bring all of this together, we're going to get a better picture of what it's like to operate in the Arctic.”

There were over 140 participants in person and more on Zoom. NATO countries were represented by the Royal Navy, UK Met Office, Royal Canadian Air Force, Environment and Climate Change Canada, and future NATO member Sweden. There were also local attendees from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fort Wainwright, and the National Weather Service.

“We're already seeing an increase in exercises and operations going on in the Arctic,” said Adcock. “It takes a village to get after a challenging topic, especially like the Arctic, so sharing what they’ve learned and working with them is definitely going to help us all out in the long run.”

By collaborating with allies and partners to increase security capacity through enhanced integration and interoperability, PACAF sustains this advantage toward common security objectives.

This was the second year of the workshop and is planned to be continued annually.