Potential Technologies for Assessing Risk Associated with a Mesoscale Forecast

Report No. ARL-TN-0708
Authors: Patrick A Haines, Jeffrey A Smith, Mark R Hjelmfelt, William J Capehart, and James L Cogan
Date/Pages: October 2015; 24 pages
Abstract: Warfighters face uncertainty in every task undertaken during mission execution. Military decision-making seeks to reduce these uncertainties through planning contingencies whenever possible. Information can reduce uncertainty–but only if the information is understood in context; that is, if warfighters can evaluate the information in light of their plans and contingencies to assess mission-related risks. Information context is extremely important to the warfighter, and that context is a 4-dimensional (4D)–x, y, x, t–cube. Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) forecasts produce 4D information, yet the means to interpret it in warfighter-relevant terms is not easily available. It is not currently possible to anticipate the meteorological errors of a particular forecast. The risk in using a meteorological forecast of any kind is that it will inaccurately predict the future state of the atmosphere to an unknown extent. Inaccuracy is due to errors in the initial conditions and errors introduced by the numerical representation and physical parameterizations of an NWP forecast model. Despite these limitations, some forecasts are quite accurate and use of them in the planning and execution of operations would be highly beneficial. The salient question: Can the quality of the currently available forecast be known without waiting for confirming observations?
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: October 1, 2015