EOPACE is a five year multi-national effort to improve performance assessment for electrooptical
systems operating in coastal environments. Existing propagation codes such as LOWTRAN/MODTRAN
incorporate models that were developed for open ocean conditions and work quite well for this scenario.
However, there are processes that are unique to near coastal regions which are not adequately accounted
for in LOWTRAN/MODTRAN. Coastal environments may differ significantly from open ocean
conditions, and need to be fully characterized. The objectives of EOPACE are threefold: (1) to
investigate coastal aerosols by studying surfproduction, coastal air mass characterization, and near ocean
surface transmission characteristics; (2) to develop mesoscale and data assimilation models; and (3) to
evaluate EO systems performance by studying targets and backgrounds, polarization techniques,
performance of forward looking infrared (FUR) and infrared search and track (IRST) systems, and
tactical decision aids.
Six EOPACE Intensive Operational Periods (TOPs) have been conducted during 1996 and 1 997. Two
more TOPs are planned along with one Extended Operational Period (EOP). In situ and remote sensing
techniques have been used to infer the impact of surf-generated aerosols, air mass parameterization
required for propagation codes, near ocean surface infrared transmission properties, and IRST/FLIR
systems performance in coastal environments. Initial results concern coastal aerosols. This paper gives
an overview of the EOPACE effort and discusses the initial observations relative to: (1) the impact of
surf generated aerosols on visual and JR extinction in a coastal environment, (2) establishing the
variability of aerosol concentrations and composition for coastal air masses for the development of a
Coastal Aerosol Model (CAM), and (3) quantifying JR propagation characteristics for two wavebands (3-
5 and 8-12 microns) for near ocean transmission.