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NEWS | Feb. 15, 2010

Barron, Rowley Awarded Meritorious Civilian Service Medal

By Shannon Breland

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. - Drs. Charlie Barron and Clark Rowley, oceanographers at the Naval Research Laboratory Stennis Space Center detachment, recently received Department of the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service awards from the Naval Oceanographic Office (NAVOCEANO).

The two were recognized for their significant overall contributions to ongoing ocean forecasting and specifically for the roles they played in providing the Fleet with the ability to use forecasted sound speed in mission planning.

Dr. Barron and Dr. Rowley distinguished themselves as the key people critical to the fruition of this capability, said Capt. Brian Brown, commanding officer of NAVOCEANO.

The forecast sound speed capability is available through the Navy Coastal Ocean Model (NCOM). Prior to Barron and Rowley's work, NCOM provided only sea surface height, salinity and temperature - three critical oceanographic characteristics. The ability to access forecasted sound speed via NCOM provides the Fleet with a more complete understanding of the underwater environment, which is essential for mission success.

With forecast sound speed fields from NCOM, the U.S. Navy can now understand the future underwater environment and apply that understanding to antisubmarine warfare mission planning to maintain a critical edge in preparing for and executing battle, said Brown.

Barron guided the research that led to the development of the enhancements that made it feasible to use the global NCOM to forecast sound speed, including writing of the validation test report and preparation of scientific and review presentations, patents and publications.

Rowley led the development of the modeling system known as Relo-NCOM, which facilitates the rapid implementation of higher resolution model domains within the global domain. He wrote codes and scripts necessary to ensure its complete functionality, and performed and documented the validation testing that led to the transition of the system to NAVOCEANO.

Barron and Rowley work in the Ocean Data Assimilation and Probabilistic Prediction Section, where Barron is the supervisor. Barron received his Ph.D. in oceanography from Texas A&M University in 1994 and has been with NRL since 1997. He received the 2006 Top Navy Scientists and Engineers of the Year Award and is credited with 31 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters.

Rowley began his NRL career in 2001. He received his Ph.D. in oceanography from the University of Rhode Island in 1996.

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