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Climate Change: Anticipated Effects on High-Energy Laser Weapon Systems in Maritime Environments

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  • 1 Air Force Institute of Technology, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio
  • | 2 Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California
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Abstract

This study quantifies the potential impacts on ship-defense high-energy-laser (HEL) performance due to atmospheric effects in the marine boundary layer driven by recent observations and analysis of worldwide sea surface temperatures (SSTs). The atmospheric effects are defined using the worldwide probabilistic climatic database available in the High Energy Laser End-to-End Operational Simulation (HELEEOS) model, which includes an SST database for the period 1854–1997. A more recent worldwide sea surface temperature database was provided by the Naval Postgraduate School for the period 1990–2008. Mean differences and trends between the two SST databases are used to deduce possible climate change impacts on simulated maritime HEL engagements. The anticipated effects on HEL propagation performance are assessed at an operating wavelength of 1.0642 μm across the world’s oceans and mapped onto a 1° × 1° grid. The scenario evaluated is near surface and nearly horizontal over a range of 5000 m in which anticipated clear-air maritime aerosols occur. Summer and winter scenarios are considered. In addition to realistic vertical profiles of molecular and aerosol absorption and scattering, correlated optical turbulence profiles in probabilistic (percentile) format are used.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Steven T. Fiorino, AFIT/ENP, 2950 Hobson Way, Wright-Patterson AFB, OH 45433-7765. Email: steven.fiorino@afit.edu

Abstract

This study quantifies the potential impacts on ship-defense high-energy-laser (HEL) performance due to atmospheric effects in the marine boundary layer driven by recent observations and analysis of worldwide sea surface temperatures (SSTs). The atmospheric effects are defined using the worldwide probabilistic climatic database available in the High Energy Laser End-to-End Operational Simulation (HELEEOS) model, which includes an SST database for the period 1854–1997. A more recent worldwide sea surface temperature database was provided by the Naval Postgraduate School for the period 1990–2008. Mean differences and trends between the two SST databases are used to deduce possible climate change impacts on simulated maritime HEL engagements. The anticipated effects on HEL propagation performance are assessed at an operating wavelength of 1.0642 μm across the world’s oceans and mapped onto a 1° × 1° grid. The scenario evaluated is near surface and nearly horizontal over a range of 5000 m in which anticipated clear-air maritime aerosols occur. Summer and winter scenarios are considered. In addition to realistic vertical profiles of molecular and aerosol absorption and scattering, correlated optical turbulence profiles in probabilistic (percentile) format are used.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Steven T. Fiorino, AFIT/ENP, 2950 Hobson Way, Wright-Patterson AFB, OH 45433-7765. Email: steven.fiorino@afit.edu

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