Applying ensemble prediction systems to Department of Defense operations
Cunningham, Jeffrey G.
Wash, Carlyle H.
Harr, Patrick A.
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Based on recent advances, skilled objectively-determined probabilistic forecasts of some weather phenomena may be provided to operational decision-makers. Objective probabilistic forecasts that are generated from ensemble prediction systems (EPS) are attractive as a forecast methodology for Department of Defense (DoD) applications for three reasons: first, atmospheric scientists understand that the atmosphere has a limit of predictability, which means that traditional deterministic forecasts lack important uncertainty information; second, it has been demonstrated that quantifying uncertainty may improve a weather forecast user's ability to make a better decision based on their own utility function, which translates to better operational risk management (ORM) for the DoD; and finally, progress points towards a future with machine-to-machine warfare. These assertions are examined by applying probabilistic forecasts from an ensemble-based aircraft-scale turbulence forecast system to several cases and scenarios. Results clearly demonstrate the advantage of using ensemble-based probabilistic forecasts versus deterministic forecasts. Additionally, application of ensemble-based probabilistic forecast information to DoD operations is shown to be possible through its ORM programs. Specifically, air refueling scenarios are identified that demonstrate the integration of probabilistic turbulence forecast guidance into the U.S. Air Force ORM process.
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