The concept of Rapid Environmental Assessment (REA) is to provide environmental nowcasts and forecasts accurate and efficient enough to support operational activity in any arbitrary region of the global coastal ocean, and to respond to operational assessment requests effectively on very short notice. Ocean science and technology today are rapidly evolving and recognized as generally involving interdisciplinary processes and interactions on multiple scales in space and time (Robinson et al., 1999a). To deal with the complex ocean forecasts and simulations required both for research and for operations and management, the concept of an Ocean Observing and Prediction System (OOPS) has emerged for assimilating data from the system’s observational network into the system’s forecasts models to generate requisite field estimates (Mooers, 1999; Robinson and the LOOPS Group, 1999). REA requires a rapidly deployable, generic, portable OOPS.
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