In order to track plumes of hazardous material over moderate to long distances in the atmosphere, it is necessary to use high-resolution forecasts of the winds and other variables. These forecasts are provided by STAR computer models that have computational grids that span areas that are as large as multi-state regions of the country and as small as neighborhoods in a city.
The models have been developed specifically for Department of Defense sponsors whose focus has been on predicting lower-atmospheric processes that impact personnel and materiel. The forecasts also provide information about extreme events in the atmosphere, such as heavy precipitation and high winds, which can be used by emergency responders. If decision-support systems can benefit from probabilistic forecasts of weather conditions, STAR models can provide those products as well.