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Primitive Analysis of the Ship Tracking Problem

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  • a CSIRO Land and Water, Canberra, Australia
  • | b Science Applications International Corporation, San Diego, California
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Abstract

Satellite images reveal tracks of enhanced solar reflectivity in low-level stratus clouds over the ocean that are known to be produced by the aerosols emitted from diesel-powered ships. The question arises: Can we track a ship from such images? A primitive model of convection–diffusion of particles from the moving ship to the condensation level, and of formation of the detectable ship track, is developed. The analysis takes account of various influences, such as ship and wind velocity vectors. It yields, inter alia, the dimensions of the ship track and its disposition relative to the ship. Plausible parameter values give results in the observed range. Tracking is achieved for the simplified problem, but a paucity of meteorological and other data causes practical difficulties.

Corresponding author address: Dr. J. W. Rottman, Science Applications International Corporation, MS C4, 10260 Campus Point Drive, San Diego, CA 92121.

jwrottman@trg.saic.com

Abstract

Satellite images reveal tracks of enhanced solar reflectivity in low-level stratus clouds over the ocean that are known to be produced by the aerosols emitted from diesel-powered ships. The question arises: Can we track a ship from such images? A primitive model of convection–diffusion of particles from the moving ship to the condensation level, and of formation of the detectable ship track, is developed. The analysis takes account of various influences, such as ship and wind velocity vectors. It yields, inter alia, the dimensions of the ship track and its disposition relative to the ship. Plausible parameter values give results in the observed range. Tracking is achieved for the simplified problem, but a paucity of meteorological and other data causes practical difficulties.

Corresponding author address: Dr. J. W. Rottman, Science Applications International Corporation, MS C4, 10260 Campus Point Drive, San Diego, CA 92121.

jwrottman@trg.saic.com

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