Chapter 1—
Introduction

This report describes selected opportunities for the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) in a broad spectrum of research related to boundary layer dynamics (BLD). Generally, research programs in BLD are concerned with observing, understanding, and predicting the structure and evolution of the atmospheric and oceanic boundary layers, which are the environment in which the Navy operates (Figure 1.1). To support naval operations effectively, remote and in situ observing systems must provide quantitative data on a broad range of scales about physical and dynamical processes in both the atmosphere and ocean, as well as detailed information about the structural dynamics and interfacial surface between the two fluids. Remote sensing from above the ocean surface—primarily with electromagnetic and electro-optical systems designed to observe the atmospheric and oceanic mixed layers and the ocean's surface—requires knowledge of signal propagation, scattering, and emission. Below-surface remote sensing of the ocean and its mixed layer, and of surface and near-surface wave dynamics, is conducted principally with diverse active and passive acoustical systems. Interpretation of these acoustical observations, particularly those obtained in coastal and continental shelf waters, continues to provide a broad class of challenging basic and applied research problems.

Particularly with the current emphasis on littoral warfare, successful Navy and Marine Corps operations are increasingly dependent on reliable predictions of environmental conditions, such as sea state and atmospheric moisture distributions in shallow coastal waters. A thorough understanding of the level of uncertainty in these forecasts is needed to guide planning and execution of such operations.

The panel believes strongly that there are important synergistic opportunities among the capabilities for BLD research in the NRL organizational framework. While many of these opportunities are mentioned in Chapter 2, a major synergistic opportunity is discussed in detail in Chapter 3, which emphasizes, in particular, the establishment of a new center at NRL-W to assimilate the results of BLD research, and takes advantage of the capabilities at the Fleet Numerical Meteorological and Oceanographic Center facility with the goal of improving forecasts for the Navy. Chapter 4 addresses the issue of infrastructure resources and needs, including facilities. The panel's closing comments are given in Chapter 5. A list of some of the leading research institutions and groups in the topical areas discussed in Chapter 2, also requested in the terms of reference, is contained in Appendix A. Appendix B defines the acronyms and abbreviations used in this report.



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Boundary Layer Dynamics Chapter 1— Introduction This report describes selected opportunities for the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) in a broad spectrum of research related to boundary layer dynamics (BLD). Generally, research programs in BLD are concerned with observing, understanding, and predicting the structure and evolution of the atmospheric and oceanic boundary layers, which are the environment in which the Navy operates (Figure 1.1). To support naval operations effectively, remote and in situ observing systems must provide quantitative data on a broad range of scales about physical and dynamical processes in both the atmosphere and ocean, as well as detailed information about the structural dynamics and interfacial surface between the two fluids. Remote sensing from above the ocean surface—primarily with electromagnetic and electro-optical systems designed to observe the atmospheric and oceanic mixed layers and the ocean's surface—requires knowledge of signal propagation, scattering, and emission. Below-surface remote sensing of the ocean and its mixed layer, and of surface and near-surface wave dynamics, is conducted principally with diverse active and passive acoustical systems. Interpretation of these acoustical observations, particularly those obtained in coastal and continental shelf waters, continues to provide a broad class of challenging basic and applied research problems. Particularly with the current emphasis on littoral warfare, successful Navy and Marine Corps operations are increasingly dependent on reliable predictions of environmental conditions, such as sea state and atmospheric moisture distributions in shallow coastal waters. A thorough understanding of the level of uncertainty in these forecasts is needed to guide planning and execution of such operations. The panel believes strongly that there are important synergistic opportunities among the capabilities for BLD research in the NRL organizational framework. While many of these opportunities are mentioned in Chapter 2, a major synergistic opportunity is discussed in detail in Chapter 3, which emphasizes, in particular, the establishment of a new center at NRL-W to assimilate the results of BLD research, and takes advantage of the capabilities at the Fleet Numerical Meteorological and Oceanographic Center facility with the goal of improving forecasts for the Navy. Chapter 4 addresses the issue of infrastructure resources and needs, including facilities. The panel's closing comments are given in Chapter 5. A list of some of the leading research institutions and groups in the topical areas discussed in Chapter 2, also requested in the terms of reference, is contained in Appendix A. Appendix B defines the acronyms and abbreviations used in this report.

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Boundary Layer Dynamics Figure 1.1 Structure and processes in the marine boundary layers. MABL, marine atmospheric boundary layer; OBL, oceanic boundary layer.