Coastal Predictive Skill Experiments at LEO
Learn what all the instruments in the cartoon
An integrated ocean observatory has been developed and operated in the coastal waters off the central coast of New Jersey (USA). One major goal for the Long-term Ecosystem Observatory (LEO) is to develop a real-time capability for rapid environmental assessment and physical/biological forecasting in coastal waters. To this end, observational data is collected from satellites, aircrafts, ships, fixed/relocatable moorings, and autonomous underwater vehicles. The majority of the data are available in real-time allowing for adaptive sampling of episodic events and are assimilated into ocean forecast models. In this observationally rich environment, model forecast errors are dominated by uncertainties in the model physics or future boundary conditions rather than initial conditions. Therefore, ensemble forecasts with differing model parameterizations provide a unique opportunity for model refinement and validation.
The system has been operated during four annual coastal predictive skill experiments from 1998 through 2001. To illustrate the capabilities of the system, case studies on coastal upwelling and small-scale biological slicks will be analyzed.
This observatory is one part of the expanding network of ocean observatories that will form the basis of a national observation network. These regional efforts should be linked through satellite remote sensing and surface current radar systems. Data on the ocean interior will be provided from subsurface AUVs and moorings. The combined data should be available through a network of virtual labs capable of rapid data visualization and dissemination.