From July 12 to September 21, 2012, the US Navy successfully demonstrated, for the first time, the capability to automatically obtain and assimilate real-time radar observations of precipitation from three U.S. aircraft carriers and one amphibious assault ship equipped with the SPS-48/Hazardous Weather Detection and Display Capability (HWDDC). These were four ships of fifteen total ships that now have the SPS-48/HWDDC capability. Hourly, volumetric SPS-48E/HWDDC radar data were automatically transmitted to Fleet Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography Center (FNMOC) and assimilated into the U.S. Navy's Coupled Ocean/Atmosphere Mesoscale Prediction System (COAMPS®) high-resolution NWP model along with NEXRAD radar data in support of the Rim of the Pacific and Valiant Shield Exercises that took place as part of Trident Warrior 2012. This capability and demonstration were the culmination of many years of collaborative effort between the Naval Research Laboratory Marine Meteorology Division (NRL-Monterey), SPAWAR Systems Center - Pacific, and FNMOC. The NRL-Monterey 3DVAR radar data assimilation (DA) system and the COAMPS On Demand System (COAMPS-OS®) were combined into a prototype that assimilated conventional weather and ocean observations along with the shipboard SPS-48/HWDDC and ground-based NEXRAD radar data within the COAMPS forecast model at FNMOC. An updated suite of analysis and forecast charts of atmospheric and oceanographic conditions were continuously created and made accessible to the US Navy Fleet via a Secret Internet Protocol Router Network website. Lessons learned concerning unique quality control issues revealed by the SPS-48/HWDDC data during the demonstration, and optimal COAMPS-OS radar DA processing have since been addressed and incorporated into version 2.5 of COAMPS-OS and transitioned to FNMOC where it is currently undergoing pre-operational testing. The system is also ready to assimilate SPY-1/Tactical Environmental Processor (TEP) radar data that are also capable of being transmitted to FNMOC in real-time. TEP a system equivalent to HWDDC is expected to be installed on eighteen Navy destroyers incrementally over the next several years. In addition, future plans include expanding the COAMPS-OS radar DA system to accommodate US Navy and Marine Corp airborne, mobile-ground- and stationary-ground-based radar data. An overview of the COAMPS-OS radar DA system will be presented at the conference along with results showing the positive impact it has demonstrated in improving COAMPS forecast skill.
COAMPS® and COAMPS-OS® are registered trademarks of the Naval Research Laboratory.