This study involves one particular case that may be representative of some situations occurring in the Afghan theater but not to all possible situations, such as those with very stable conditions or an inversion between the Aerostat and the ground, which could happen, especially when the Aerostat is positioned at 1,600 m (cases were presented for 200, 800, and 160 m) altitude. The approach developed a climatology (based on 155 days of data) of near-surface wind and temperature profiles and extracted the needed corrections using the corrections based on published theoretical calculations. The method was tested using data from two field sites, Aberdeen and Yuma Proving Grounds. The data revealed a smooth temperature curve with height but did not show any inversion, a result that might make the method invalid for some situations and may suggest a need for further testing. The developments appear reasonable, perhaps because the requirement for a camera to aim in approximately the correct direction is not very severe, so that even though these early tests show considerable scatter in the corrective terms, the results point in the right direction.
Tests using forecast profiles are planned, which is an important step to establishing and applying the method operationally. Attention should still be given to situations with a stable air-layer near the ground and a possible inversion between the Aerostat and the ground. Further studies on the adequacy of climatologically stored data or local forecasts for estimating the corrections of the localization angle and distance are needed and should answer the question regarding the method’s applicability in the field.
Weather Research and Forecast Model-Based Nowcasting for Battlefield Operations BED’s weather research and forecast (WRF)-based numerical modeling is designed to fill an important gap that exists at very fine scales, in order to meet Army needs for timely environmental data on the rapidly evolving battlefield. This need is not currently met well by standard, available weather forecast products designed primarily for larger spatial scales and longer temporal scales. BED’s numerical “nowcasting” effort is designed to provide frequent updates of environmental products on grids of 1 kilometer or less. To be successful, this work has to assimilate, in addition to traditional sources of weather data, a variety of atmospheric observations collected by disparate sensors on the battlefield, and it has to be able to identify and reject unreliable data. BED researchers are investigating ways to exploit satellite data that could provide models with soil-moisture measurements, which would be valuable for improving the accuracy of land-surface flux calculations and atmospheric boundary layer conditions. Traditionally, these high-resolution modeling tasks have required major high-performance computing platforms, but BED is examining means of achieving forward-deployed computing capacity.
Currently, the means to accurately represent the effects of turbulence in the atmospheric boundary layer at the scales relevant for high-resolution nowcasting is not well understood and is poorly represented by available modeling software. BED has made progress in recognizing this problem and in developing and/or acquiring the necessary expertise to address this issue. A hierarchy of models is under development and is being tested for application in various battlefield conditions. This logical path allows for steady improvement of atmospheric guidance as advances are made, the science matures, and computational capacity increases.
BED has made significant strides in addressing the issues unique to weather model verification at the battlefield scale by acquiring and evaluating advanced weather model evaluation software. This effort is already stimulating new ways to extract and evaluate the accuracy of Army-relevant information from the guidance provided by the weather model. BED’s modeling work supports a wide range of products that assist the soldier, including optimal routing algorithms that address impacts of atmospheric conditions, improved accuracy of ballistic artillery, and soldier health effects such as heat stress and exposure to airborne toxic aerosols.