DVIDS – News – Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group deploys oceanographic profiling float to help study sea conditions, prepare for storms
PHILIPPINE SEA (October 7, 2023) – By deploying an oceanographic profiler from the U.S. Navy’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier for the first time, embarked meteorological specialists hope to learn more about sea conditions and help regional neighbors better prepare for dangerous weather.
Specialists aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan deployed the Autonomous Lagrangian Thermometric Observer (ALTO) in the Philippine Sea on Oct. 7. The ALTO is a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) profiling float that collects temperature and salinity profiles down to 2000m depth. It drifts with deep ocean currents and periodically surfaces to transmit data to shore via satellite.
Once deployed by either ship or aircraft, this expendable sensor provides several years of automated temperature/salinity (T/S) measurements. Each ocean profile the ALTO collects costs significantly less than what it would cost to collect the same data with a ship.
“The Naval Oceanographic Office (NAVOCEANO) has purchased and deployed profiling floats since 1998,” said Malarie O’Brien, physical scientist – float and drifter subject matter expert, Naval Oceanographic Office, Unmanned Technologies Branch – Oceanographic Department. “Float data are ingested by US Navy oceanographic models and are used directly to develop climatological databases and other NAVOCEANO products. The data are also readily accessible for use in the field during naval operations. Historically most NAVOCEANO floats have been deployed by T-AGS ships, however a concerted effort is being made to increase the involvement of other US Navy vessels. NAVOCEANO wants the fleet to deploy more floats and benefit from the resulting insitu data as they operate.”
By better understanding the ocean heat content (OHC) of the upper ocean, weather experts can better predict storm intensification — how storms forming over Indo-Pacific waters will grow in strength and how they’ll move. That information can help ensure shipping traffic in the region stays safe and that coastal communities – as well as emergency responders at sea, like the U.S. Navy – can better prepare for heavy weather.
“Deploying the ALTO is important because the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group operates inside the first and second island chains, which are considered data sparse regions, more than any other U.S. Navy strike group,” said Lt. Cmdr. Miguel Green, the carrier strike group’s meteorological and oceanographic (METOC) officer. “The data that the profiling floats collect are assimilated into ocean models to support a range of naval operations, such as search-and-rescue, humanitarian assistance/disaster relief, oil spill monitoring and optimum ship track routing.”
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), in 2022, the Western Pacific saw 22 tropical storms and 17 typhoons or major typhoons – designated by winds greater than 74 mph and 111 mph, respectively.
The region was also home to the world’s only two Category 5 storms – with winds topping 157 mph – of the 2022 calendar year.
U.S. Navy METOC officers work around the clock collecting data and studying the atmosphere to forecast the weather. METOCs are crucial to mission success and the overall safety operations ashore and at sea.
The USS Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group is forward-deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific. U.S. 7th Fleet is the U.S. Navy’s largest forward-deployed numbered fleet, and routinely interacts and operates with allies and partners in preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
|Date Posted:||11.16.2023 00:44|
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