Recent advances in remotely acquired data, mainly from satellites, are providing a wealth of information about the ocean and atmospheric environment not previously available. The Navy complements such remote sensing with ship-based measurements of ocean depths, temperatures, salinities, and other parameters and has good historical data sets derived from more than 100 ship-years of dedicated time. New distributed sensors will provide real-time data at high resolution representing large areas, with deployment possible in remote or otherwise inaccessible regions as needed.
A major thrust for the future will be the enhancement of environmental data through the use of increasingly sophisticated models of the ocean/atmosphere system. Assimilation of these data into the Coupled Ocean-Atmosphere Dynamic System (COADS) model will be enabled by the rapid advances in computational power and modeling and simulation technology. The real-time weather prediction made possible by this combination of massive database modeling and computational power will allow tactical users to anticipate events in real time and strategic planners to more accurately predict seasonal weather.
On the meteorological side, the current major emphasis of Department of the Navy research conducted at the Naval Research Laboratory, Marine Meteorology Division, at Monterey, California, is on data assimilation for the Navy Operational Global Atmospheric Prediction System (NOGAPS) and the Navy Operational Regional Atmospheric Prediction System (NORAPS) models. The data being assimilated includes those from both surface- and space-based platforms, data from the latter including the remotely sensed measurements of the ocean-surface wind speed, precipitation rates, and total vertical column moisture.
A new NASA scatterometer (NSCAT) was successfully launched on a Japanese satellite in August 1996 and is delivering accurate wind speed and directional data spanning the world's oceans. Future instruments, called SEAWINDS, are scheduled for launch on Japanese platforms in 2002 and 2007. These and other satellites will provide a major new critical data set for naval open-ocean operations. They are expected to revolutionize boundary-layer modeling for upper-ocean environmental changes as well as provide a complete array of electromagnetic surveillance of the battle-group environment. The wind is the basic parameter that determines the vertical structure of all atmospheric variables below the cloud base. Currently, these data are available only in a delayed mode; future naval operations will require real-time data acquisition from U.S. spacecraft.
In all likelihood, planners soon can expect to see significant development of very-high-resolution weather prediction models, such as the Coupled Ocean-Atmosphere Mesoscale Prediction System (COAMPS), which is the planned