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Boundary Layer Dynamics Chapter 4— Infrastructure—Resources and Needs Maintenance of a strong technological infrastructure base is essential to NRL's ability to realize its potential for excellent research in BLD areas. Two important aspects of this infrastructure are (1) instruments and facilities; and (2) ships and aircraft. INSTRUMENTS AND LABORATORY FACILITIES One of the outstanding strengths of a government laboratory such as NRL is its ability to purchase and maintain expensive instruments and computers that are often beyond the reach of university laboratories. Especially if NRL develops a concentration of researchers working on marine atmospheric and oceanic boundary layer problems, a solid complement of high-quality equipment is essential. To carry out the data assimilation and modeling efforts recommended in Chapter 2, first-class computer and networking capabilities are needed. For doing controlled experiments to study fundamental processes such as wind-wave and wave-wave interactions, and to develop and test new instrumentation, laboratory facilities including wave and wind-wave tanks are absolutely necessary. Likewise, state-of-the-art networking environments and capabilities will have to be maintained to make use of data sets and modeling in various collaborations, within and external to NRL. Meteorological, oceanographic, acoustic, and microwave equipment remain expensive tools of the trade with good instruments often costing in the $100,000 to $500,000 range. To achieve excellence, NRL must assure that funds are available in the future to purchase such instrumentation and to provide personnel and facilities to maintain equipment in good, operating condition. One of the best ways to attract talented young researchers to NRL is to provide them with access to such instrumentation and facilities. SHIPS AND AIRCRAFT In an experimentally driven field such as marine boundary layer research, it is essential that instrumentation be taken into the field to measure nature as it exists, not as one imagines it. Thus, the panel believes that an NRL commitment to providing ship and aircraft time to boundary layer researchers is essential. Also, aircraft and ships should be properly outfitted and instrumented for atmospheric and oceanic boundary layer research. How to provide such time and platforms must, of course, be decided by laboratory management but it should be done in such a way that even modest programs can have access to ships and aircraft. Once again, providing such access can be a strong point of the NRL program that will attract talented people to its ranks. A related issue is the fact that an ocean-atmosphere research tower can be useful for obtaining high-quality, long-term data in coastal environments. Possibly one or more inactive drilling towers in the Gulf of Mexico or Santa Barbara areas could be leased for this purpose.
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