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Front Resolving Observational Network with Telemetry (FRONT)

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The Front Resolving Observational Network with Telemetry FRONT experiment is designed to evaluate the feasibility of making useful coastal ocean forecasts with a coarse array of instruments that telemeter data in near-real time for use in an assimilative numerical model. Direct observations are used to evaluate the model predictions. The FRONT site is a portion of continental shelf south of the eastern end of Long Island, New York. Historical observations indicate that variable bathymetry and strong tides interact with energetic wind- and buoyancy-forced motions to produce recurring fronts. Our objective is to develop and test the observation system in this complex dynamical regime. Technical objectives include coordination and telemetry of real-time data streams from a combination of in situ instruments the development of an assimilative model to provide operational forecasts and the development of technology and procedures for acquisition of multi-scale observations to evaluate the model. Data telemetry and instrument control will be accomplished with an acoustic underwater communications network that interfaces with buoy-mounted cellular modems to connect the in situ instruments to the terrestrial internet. The network features multiple acoustic modems connected in a topology that can tolerate failure or loss of individual elements. Figure 1c shows the topology used in the spring of 2002. The data is assimilated using the generalized inverse method to compute non-tidal adjustments to the sea level at the open boundaries of the model domain. These are then used, with wind and satellite-derived surface temperature observations to force the three dimensional, non-hydrostatic model known as MITgcm. The predictions of the model are evaluated by comparison to ship survey data.

Subject Categories:

  • Telemetry
  • Non-Radio Communications

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