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NEWS | June 16, 2023

Dr. Ruth H. Preller Receives Meritorious Executive Presidential Rank Award for High-Impact Achievements

By Nicholas E. M. Pasquini, U.S. Naval Research Laboratory Corporate Communications

Dr. Ruth H. Preller, SES, former U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) Ocean Sciences Division superintendent receives 2022 Meritorious Executive Presidential Rank Award for leading innovative oceanographic research requiring interdisciplinary approaches and collaborations with the larger national and international ocean science community.
Preller has the distinction of being the first female Senior Executive at NRL. She demonstrated extraordinary leadership by maintaining the Division’s scientific quality and productivity and focusing the research on meeting customer needs.
The Ocean Sciences Division performs basic and applied research in the ocean sciences, develops relevant oceanographic products from research, and transitions to operations real-time ocean analysis and prediction systems for Navy and Department of Defense (DoD) operations around the globe.
Preller managed a focused research program providing the warfighter with reliable predictions, known as nowcasts and forecasts, of ocean currents, temperature, salinity, optics, tides, waves, hurricane surge, and surf zone conditions.
Naval operations require precise knowledge of how the environment will impact operations in order to exploit that knowledge for tactical advantage against adversaries.
Ocean models must provide Naval forces accurate predictions for open-ocean, shallow water, near shore, and riverine environments. Accurate ocean forecasts are essential to optimize mission planning, execution, and safety of Naval and Joint Forces.
The Fleet Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography Center runs 10 to 12 operational ocean analysis and prediction systems daily to disseminate ocean environment products to the Fleet. Every one of these models is based on the research and technology developed by the Ocean Sciences Division.
Preller led the operational deployment of the Global Ocean Forecast System and, in collaboration with the Marine Meteorology Division, the transition and operational deployment of the Navy Earth System Prediction Capability (ESPC). 
The Global Ocean Forecast System (GOFS) is the U.S. Navy’s global ocean prediction system that runs daily at Commander, Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command (CNMOC) production centers. The GOFS provides the Navy with a first look of the three-dimensional ocean environment, anywhere, anytime, across the global ocean. 
These environmental fields provide real-time predictions of derived acoustic parameters including sound speed and sonic layer depth and provides forecasts of sea ice extent and thickness in the Arctic and Antarctic.
The sea ice environment in the Arctic Ocean has become increasingly important for strategic and economic reasons over the past decade given the diminishing trend in year-to-year sea ice extent and thickness and the potential summertime opening of the Northwest Passage and Siberian sea routes.
The Navy-ESPC ensemble system is the new global coupled atmosphere-ocean-sea ice prediction system for operational forecasting for timescales out to 45 days.  Products include sea surface temperature and sea surface height forecasts, as well as parameters relevant for ocean acoustics, such as sonic layer depth and below layer gradient.  Sea ice products include ice concentration and ice thickness.  For the ocean and sea ice components, this is the first time that measures of forecast uncertainty, as represented by ensemble spread, are provided. This is a first step toward long-range sub-seasonal climate predictions for Navy and civilian applications.
Preller led the Divisions development and transition of NRL’s Global Predictive Seabed Model (GPSM), the first global, geologically consistent, physics-based, seafloor prediction capability. GPSM uses machine-learning techniques to find correlations between observations, such as; quantities whose values we want to predict everywhere, and predictors. Predictors are quantities different, but correlated to those we observe, whose values are known, or estimable, everywhere we want to make a prediction. This novel system is being tested for operational deployment as input to acoustic models predicting acoustic bottom loss, an important performance parameter for anti-submarine warfare (ASW).
Preller also contributed impactful personal research to ocean analysis and forecasting and is the original developer of the U.S. Navy’s sea ice forecasting system, the Polar Ice Prediction System (PIPS). PIPS forecasts ice thickness, ice drift, ice concentrations, and location of ice edges. The Navy, Coast Guard, commercial shipping, and civilian operations rely on the high-latitude ice conditions from PIPS. She was recognized in 1998 for developing PIPS by receiving one of the 75 prestigious NRL “Awards for Innovation” to celebrate the first 75 years of NRL.
The Ocean Sciences Division remains on the cutting edge of ocean remote sensing using satellite altimeter and optical sensors, working closely with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), European Space Agency, and other DoD partners to improve real-time processing systems.
About the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory

NRL is a scientific and engineering command dedicated to research that drives innovative advances for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps from the seafloor to space and in the information domain. NRL is located in Washington, D.C. with major field sites in Stennis Space Center, Mississippi; Key West, Florida; Monterey, California, and employs approximately 3,000 civilian scientists, engineers and support personnel.
For more information, contact NRL Corporate Communications at (202) 480-3746 or  Please reference package number at top of press release.

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