Operational Altimetry Applications at NOAA's National Weather Service
Lillibridge, John L.1; Sienkiewicz, Joseph M.2; Tolman, Hendrik L.2; Blake, Eric S.2; Russell, Lamar3
1NOAA/NESDIS; 2NOAA/NWS; 3U.S. Navy
NOAA's National Weather Service utilizes altimetric significant wave height, ocean surface wind speed, and sea surface height data operationally at the Ocean Prediction Center, Environmental Modeling Center and National Hurricane Center. High seas wind/wave forecasts and analyses are aided by Envisat, Jason-1 and Jason-2 data, and are used to validate NOAA's WAVEWATCH III™ global ocean wave model. Sea surface height anomaly (SSHA) is one of the state variables used to initialize the coupled Hurricane Weather Research and Forecast system (HWRF™) model. Upper-ocean heat content, derived from SSHA in conjunction with sea surface temperature, is one of the environmental quantities assessed by the Statistical Hurricane Intensity Prediction Scheme (SHIPS). Forecasters also subjectively analyze maps of ocean heat content to predict hurricane intensification over deep pools of warm water. As part of the Cryosat-2 cal/val team, we are preparing to include open ocean conventional altimetry measurements in the near real-time data stream used by the NWS centers. We will present examples of the operational uses of altimetry data for both high seas and hurricane forecasting, and if possible show preliminary results from Cryosat-2's low-resolution-mode ocean data.