Integrated sensor training to achieve the optimal use of information in operations.1
Several examples serve to illustrate the criticality of real-time processing. First, consider weather forecasting. Numerical weather prediction models are scheduled to be run twice daily, and they use the most recent data available at the time of execution. The fresher the data, the better the forecast, and the sooner the forecast is available for use, the more utility it provides. Louis Uccellini, director of the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP), stated, “Products have a 2.5 hour shelf-life—anything you can do to compress the front end that can give me minutes on the back end is critical.” For example at the local level, where a field-office meteorologist is assessing lifted index or convective available potential energy (CAPE) between clouds or near an approaching cold front (both are measures of severe thunderstorm potential), fine spatial resolution and timeliness are tied for the highest priority.
During the summers of 2001, 2002, and 2003 the collaboration of NASA, the U.S. Forest Service, and the University of Maryland streamlined the direct reception, immediate processing, and distribution of 250-m MODIS data identifying fire activity and perimeters directly to the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, as well as to Regional Fire Coordination Centers (see in Appendix D the section titled “MODIS Fire Rapid Response System”).
The U.S. Navy’s Fleet Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography Center (FNMOC) and U.S. Air Force Weather Agency (AFWA) face equally challenging real-time applications and are engaged no less than the civilian side in the utilization of both operational and research products for operational exploitation. For example, on March 23, 2003, when a frontal passage over Iraq introduced deteriorating conditions over Baghdad, the Air Force stopped operations and Navy ships took over all operations in support of ground troops. “We are currently using the [Satellite Focus] products to determine the Abe’s track to safely support the mission,” stated AG2 Anthony Wade, USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN (CVN-72). “We check the [Satellite Focus] website twice per day…. thank you for the support, it has been helpful to us out here…. We use this [MODIS dust product] to monitor dust events over Iraq and the NAG and it is an awesome product,” stated AGC Steven Cole, USS KITTY HAWK (CV-63).2 For the Forest Service, using data taken four times daily by NASA’s Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instruments flying on the Terra and Aqua platforms and processed and made available by the University