83rd Annual

Tuesday, 11 February 2003: 2:00 PM
Requirements for Operational Oceanographers at the Naval Oceanographic Office
James P. Rigney, Naval Oceanographic Office, Stennis Space Center, MS
The Naval Oceanographic Office (NAVOCEANO) is the Navy’s largest and oldest operational oceanography organization. Fifteen years ago, NAVOCEANO began to use satellite data to produce real-time analyses of mesoscale front and eddy positions. Prior to that time, NAVOCEANO’s physical oceanographic products consisted primarily of climatologies constructed from survey data. No dynamical numerical ocean models were being run at NAVOCEANO. Today, in additional to continuing a robust in situ data collection and analysis program, NAVOCEANO provides derived analysis and forecast products by augmenting climatological information with wave, tide, and circulation models in over 100 areas around the world. Real-time satellite and in situ data are routinely assimilated into the circulation models. Making operational use of the new technologies of numerical modeling and satellite remote sensing means that NAVOCEANO requires oceanographers with different educational backgrounds than 15 years ago. This need is not unique to the Navy. Others within government, industry and academia are putting more emphasis on operational observing and forecasting systems. Our experience is that the challenges of setting up models for new areas and/or assessing the quality of model output are functions that are best performed by persons with Master’s Degrees in Physical Oceanography with some experience working with numerical models and data assimilation. It is not clear whether the supply of persons with this background will meet demand over the coming decade.

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