Assessment of Skill for Coastal Ocean Transients


Massachusetts Bay / Gulf of Maine

June 2001

An Experiment for Ocean Coastal Prediction and
NATO Rapid Environmental Assessment Skills Evaluation

NATO NRV Alliance



A.R. Robinson, J. Sellschopp,
J.J. McCarthy, W. G. Leslie


Participating Institutions

Harvard University

SACLANT Undersea Research Centre

University of Massachusetts - Boston

University of Massachusetts - Dartmouth

1. Introduction

Coastal Predictive Skill Experimentation (CPSE) measures the ability of a forecast system to combine model results and observations in coastal domains or regimes and to accurately define the present state and predict the future state. Rapid Environmental Assessment (REA) is defined in the military environment as "the acquisition, compilation and release of tactically relevant environmental information in a tactically relevant time frame". Ocean forecasting is essential for effective and efficient REA operations. A REA CPSE must be designed to determine forecast skill on the basis of minimal and covertly attainable observations and thus may be most efficiently carried out in the context of the definitive over-sampling provided by a CPSE.

Environmental observations are a necessity for initialization and updating of ocean forecasts. Numerical ocean forecast capabilities in general consist of observational networks, data assimilation schemes and dynamic forecast models. Since observations are the most expensive part of the forecast and are often difficult to achieve, methods that would reduce the requirements are highly desirable. Knowledge of features, structures and the dynamics which evolves them is necessary for successful forecasting. Adaptive sampling of the observations of greatest impact increases efficiency and can drastically reduce the observational requirements, i.e. by one or two orders of magnitude. This project will develop methodology for ocean forecasting using minimum input.

The Assessment of Skill for Coastal Ocean Transients (ASCOT) project is a series of real-time CPSE/REA experiments and simulations focused on quantitative skill evaluation and cost-effective forecast system development. ASCOT-01, being carried out in Massachusetts Bay/Gulf of Maine in June 2001, is the first such experiment.

2. Goals and Objectives

ASCOT Overall Goal: to enhance the efficiency, improve the accuracy and extend the scope of nowcasting and forecasting of oceanic fields for Coastal Predictive Skill Experimentation and for Rapid Environmental Assessment in the coastal ocean and to quantify such CPSE and REA capabilities.

ASCOT General Objectives:

ASCOT-01 Objectives: