For over three decades the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program's Operational Linescan System (OLS) has demonstrated a unique nighttime imaging capability using a high gain visible channel. Designed primarily to detect clouds through relative moonlight reflection contrasts, quantitative applications based on the OLS nighttime visible data are limited due to low radiometric (6-bit, or 64 count levels) resolution, lack of calibration, and not being accompanied by a large suite of other spectral bands (only a single thermal infrared window channel). Despite these limitations, the fundamental capabilities enabled by the nighttime visible band are truly unique, and worthy of closer inspection by the terrestrial, atmospheric, and space science communities alike-particularly in light of the inclusion of a comparable "Day/Night visible Band" (DNB) upon the Visible/Infrared Imager/Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) scheduled to fly upon the National Polar-orbiting Operation Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) constellation (and a risk-reduction preview upon the NPOESS Preparatory Project Satellite). This paper anticipates some of the capabilities of the VIIRS-DNB in the context of nighttime dust storm and snow cover mapping from lunar reflection, based on heritage sensors from the contemporary environmental satellite constellation.
This paper chronicles the end-to-end data procurement, customized algorithm development and automated processing systems, product distribution, and ultimate user application of selected time-critical satellite meteorology applications developed by the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) in support of Department of Defense (DoD) assets during Operation Iraqi Freedom. In particular, a mechanism for obtaining high spatial/spectral resolution near real-time data from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instruments found aboard the Earth Observing System (EOS) Terra and Aqua research platforms for operational support was developed through an inter-agency collaboration between the DoD, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Value-added (e.g., dust detection, convective cloud heights, snow/cloud and fire detection) products derived from these low-latency data were then hosted on secure Internet bandwidth via the Fleet Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography Center (FNMOC) operational portal. The MODIS products factored significantly into a wide range of operational requirements that included strike briefs, aircraft routing, ship navigation, sensor targeting and weapons selection. Included herein are dramatic excerpts from direct correspondence between NRL scientists and Naval Meteorology/Oceanography (METOC) officers aboard aircraft carriers deployed in the Arabian Gulf who were actively using these products to support their various mission requirements.
Recent advancements of meteorology and oceanography (METOC) satellite products has resulted from a surge in computing resources and expanded communications via the Internet. Greater tactical demands in military operations are placed on Navy and Marine METOC personnel to provide better atmospheric depictions and forecasts in support of helicopter, fighter jet and ground troop operations, as was experienced in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Unfortunately, US military weather forecasters are often limited in their abilities to provide state of the art products and forecasts. One reason for these inefficiencies are that oftentimes, daily forecasting tasks are left to non-commissioned personnel (e.g., AG’s and ET’s) who receive little or no classroom training in this area, nor are there continuing education/training available. METOC forecast centers vary greatly and might not have access to the appropriate information base to answer ongoing questions. Additionally, the typical tour of duty at a particular forecast center is 2 years, resulting in a stressful environment to bring new forecasters up to speed in demanding forecast operations. The result is that the user is often confined to image looping and basic image enhancements to convey the general environmental conditions over the region of interest. To facilitate the learning process, the Naval Research Laboratory and the Naval Postgraduate School have developed a 3 day intensive laboratory and lecture course in satellite remote sensing, focusing on topics vital to military operations such as smoke and fire detection, coastal maritime layer analysis, snow, fog, haze, tropical cyclones, hazardous wind conditions, etc. A wealth of satellite data is provided from MODIS, AVHRR, DMSP and Geostationary satellite data. Background satellite remote sensing topics such as radiative transfer theory is also presented. This report presents a sample of the material used within the training.