US Navy: 90 Day Weather Predictions a Decade Out
Kyle Maxey posted on March 19, 2014 |

Over the course of the next decade, the US Navy could predict weather months in advance with the aid of sophisticated mathematical models and an expanded fleet of submersible drones.

According to Navy researchers, the most important part of predicting weather is having robust mathematical models that can accurately crunch data and produce high-resolution predictions. While today’s forecasts are accurate to a degree they still lack enough data points for precise long-term measurement. To solve this problem the Navy proposes that it increase its submarine drone fleet.

Currently, the US Navy operates 65 five-foot long submersible Slocum Gliders. Capable of diving some 1,200m (4,000ft), the UUVs are used to gather data on ocean temperatures and salinity in an effort to map safer passages for larger attack subs.  While 65 Slocums certainly isn’t a modest number, the Navy has plans to increase its flotilla to 150 by 2015.

By increasing the number of drones it operates Navy researchers believe they can create a more granular and accurate data set that can be fed into its Navy Ocean Forecast System (NOFS). By combining satellite imagery, meteorological observations, oceanographic data and a vast array of underwater measurements into one powerful computer program, researchers could extend accurate weather forecasts as far as 90 days out.

While some may be skeptical that the US Navy would be interested in sharing its data, commanders of the fleet have said that they’re willing to share their NOFS system with the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration.  With that software and data in hand regional agricultural planners, watershed managers and a whole host of other entities could get a better grasp on drought and flood conditions – making the ebb and flow of weather a much more manageable affair.

While on a more individual level, you and I might never again get caught in the rain, cold or overbearing heat that comes with today’s botched weather divining.

Image Courtesy of Wikipedia

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