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Navy METOC Enterprise Demonstrates Tropical Cyclone Modeling in Microsoft Azure Cloud

Oct. 8, 2020

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. — Fleet Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography Center (FNMOC) and Naval Research Laboratory Marine Meteorology Division (NRL MMD) recently demonstrated a developmental 21-member Coupled Ocean/Atmosphere Mesoscale Prediction Systems-Tropical Cyclone (COAMPS-TC) ensemble for a number of tropical cyclones, running in the Microsoft Azure cloud. This is a promising technology that will ensure Fleet safety by improving forecasting of tropical cyclone path and intensity. During Hurricane Sally COAMPS-TC accurately predicted landfall along the Alabama/Florida border while many other global models predicted a direct strike in New Orleans.

This breakthrough capability can enable basin-scale tropical cyclone forecasts, which has shown significant promise for predicting tropical cyclone formation at longer lead times as well as improved interactions between storms and prediction of path and intensity. The usefulness of this capability can be seen with the active 2020 season in the Atlantic Ocean which saw five named storms occur simultaneously.

This demonstration paired up two frequent Navy Meteorology and Oceanography enterprise collaborating partners, and is also a success for the Navy Commercial Cloud Services Program (NCCSP) (PMW 270), who helped fund the HPC cloud portion of this project. The NCCSP was executed through the Naval Facilities Engineering Command Information Technology Center cloud brokerage and demonstrated Microsoft Azure engineering capability to rapidly deliver flexible, large-scale HPC for Department of Defense use.

Naval Oceanography tropical cyclone modeling provides environmental information that Naval and Joint forces use to operate safely around storms and make better decisions faster than the adversary does. Naval Oceanography and the Naval Research Laboratory has improved 72-hour tropical cyclone prediction error from more than 200 nm in the 1990’s to less than 100 nm in the 2010’s. Significant improvements in predicting tropical cyclone intensity are also occurring. The US Navy METOC community informs the Fleet if they will encounter impacts by tropical storms, providing available maneuverability to Fleet operations sooner to support post-storm recovery and Navy missions.

FNMOC, located in both Monterey, California and at the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi is the Navy’s only numerical modeling and weather prediction center. FNMOC provides global and regional meteorology, oceanography, and environmental models to organizations throughout the Department of Defense covering everything from the upper reaches of the atmosphere to the depths of the sea floor.
 
Commander, Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command | 1100 Balch Blvd. | Stennis Space Center, Mississippi 39529