From the Stream to the Shore: Forecasting Complex Ocean Environments in Trident Warrior 13
Naval Research Laboratory Stennis Space Center United States
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Navy ocean forecasts must support tactical and strategic Fleet decisions within the diverse range of environments Navy operations face. During Julys Trident Warrior 2013 TW13, researchers from the NRL Oceanography Division tested a suite of prediction capabilities spanning conditions from the swift Gulf Stream to waves breaking along the Virginia Maryland shore. A hierarchy of computer models with increasingly fine resolution followed evolving ocean conditions, spanning from the 7 km global system to a 3 km nest over the Continental Shelf and nearby Gulf Stream to finer nests covering coupled air-sea interactions and culminating in a 50 m mesh detailing ocean waves approaching the Virginia shore. A series of NRLdirected AXBT Airborne Expendable BathyThermograph flights supplemented observations from satellite platforms and autonomous vehicles. Validation of the model forecasts relative to the in situ observations showed both the value of new assimilation capabilities and the fidelity of model forecasts supporting Navy decisions.