P10.5 Digital Ceiling and Visibility Forecasts for Naval Operations in Southern California Coastal Waters

Thursday, 7 October 2004
Rodney Paul Jacques, Naval Pacific Meteorology and Oceanography Center - San Diego, San Diego, CA; and D. A. Geiszler

The Naval Pacific Meteorology and Oceanography Center (NAVPACMETOCCEN) San Diego is developing a digital forecast process that delivers high resolution ceiling and visibility forecasts for Naval Operations. This process is an operational extension of existing and evolving research efforts within the National Weather Service (NWS), Naval Research Laboratory – Marine Meteorology Division (NRL-MMD) and PEO C4I Space Operational Effects Program.

The Department of the Navy seeks to characterize the battlespace in the littoral coastal zone to assess combat effectiveness. Ceiling and visibility forecasts are critical meteorological parameters. NAVPACMETOCCEN San Diego will quality control and verify ceiling and visibility forecasts using the following steps.

1) Satellite derived ceiling heights will be used to spatially verify a COAMPS / GFE ceiling forecast. 2) Ship and land observations will be used to verify COAMPS / GFE ceiling forecasts and provide a sanity check for the satellite derived ceiling height product. 3) 5km COAMPS ceiling forecasts will be verified with satellite derived ceiling heights and observations. 4) Digital forecasts from GFE will be compared with satellite derived ceiling heights, observations, and COAMPS output.

A key component of mesoscale battlespace characterization is the ability to threshold meteorological forecasts of ceiling and visibility. The digital forecast provides a grid to the warfighter that can be thresholded to operational limits. (e.g. Everywhere the ceiling is below 600ft it is red, 600-1000ft is yellow and ceilings higher than 1000ft are green).

The goal of this project is to provide a digital quality control and verification system for the Department of the Navy. A digital quality control and verification of ceiling and visibility will assist Navy decision makers in assessing combat effectiveness and focus training. Additionally, the digital forecast improves upon the current Navy text based area forecasts for the Southern California waters. A data archive system will be deployed to save COAMPS fields, GFE forecasts, satellite derived ceiling heights, observations and other data needed to assist researchers.

The process of digitally drawing a ceiling and visibility forecast will be explored in this study. New forecast methods and tools will be deployed that assist the Navy forecaster in drafting a 48 hour. We propose that satellite pictures be turned into satellite hindcast models to assist the forecaster in painting a picture of the next 48 hours. The satellite derived ceiling height product will be a primary forecast tool to aid the forecaster in making a forecast for Southern California waters.

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