on understanding and prediction of flows in the oceanic mixed layer. NRL has many capabilities and significant needs for application of results of research in this area. The panel recommends that NRL significantly expand the scope of its theoretical expertise in the areas of computational fluid dynamics related to boundary layer dynamics and that it guide and be guided by ongoing experimental efforts in air-sea physics and the development of remote sensing technology, with coupling of the atmosphere and ocean predictive models as a major goal.
The goal of a focused, advanced research program in BLD at NRL-East, -Stennis, and -West should be to enhance the Navy forecasts produced at the Fleet Numerical Meteorological and Oceanographic Center (FNMOC)/NRL-West facility. An unusual synergistic opportunity exists at NRL-W that could improve the cohesiveness of efforts made at the three NRL sites; establish a research orientation at NRL-W extending beyond highly applied operational support; and build intersite teams to tackle important initiatives. The panel recommends an integrated multisite program in the area of ocean data assimilation and, in particular, the creation of a new center located at NRL-W to take advantage of the special resources at the Fleet Numerical Meteorological and Oceanographic Center. The European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasting may serve as a model. This program will require new observational data, obtained from a sparse set of distributed sensors, or from new satellite-borne sensors. The aim is to ensure that all available environmental data that have the potential for improving forecast products be identified, evaluated, and assimilated.
Although progress has been and continues to be made in understanding nonlinear interactions between wave modes, between waves and shear layers, and between waves and variable currents, this work has had little influence thus far on practical ocean wind-wave modeling. OBL and MABL modelers may need better parameterization of the sea state. Better algorithms are needed to interpret and analyze data from remote sensing, and experimentalists need help to improve techniques for measuring air-sea interaction, surface fluxes, and gas transfer in the presence of waves. There is a real opportunity to make progress in BLD by exploiting progress in surface wave dynamics to develop improved deterministic and statistical models that can guide advanced experiments on ocean wind-waves. An active group with a strong theoretical and experimental background in wave physics could interact with many research groups already in existence at NRL, or could provide linkage between disciplines and sites. The panel recommends that NRL initiate a new program in the field of surface wave dynamics that has well-balanced theoretical, numerical, and experimental components. For NRL to achieve this balanced program will require new leadership, particularly in the theoretical components of the research. Scientific talent drawn from present in-house areas such as plasma dynamics may well provide the necessary human resources.
The panel is keenly aware that ocean sensing active microwave instruments all make highly indirect measurements of geophysical quantities. The quantitative interpretation of data is hampered by ignorance of both (1) the detailed scattering mechanisms by which the incident radiation is reflected