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The Beginning The Stormfury Era The Orion P3's The Synoptic Flow era The Gulfstream jet era The HFIP era References

The Gulfstream jet era

NOAA G-IV jet NOAA began in earnest in 1994 obtaining a high-altitude jet for hurricane and synoptic weather investigations. A Gulfstream IV (G-IV) jet was purchased by NOAA and instrumented. It was ready to fly by late 1996 and first used in a hurricane synoptic flow mission in 1997. New dropwindsondes were developed to replace the obsolete Omega sondes. The new sondes employed the Global Position Satellites (GPS) to obtain more accurate positions, and hence, more accurate winds. These new sondes were also more liquid water tolerant and for the first time soundings were made inside the hurricane eyewall, in Hurricane Guillermo over the East Pacific. Insights were gained about the hurricane boundary-layer wind structure from these and other drops.

Dr. HughWilloughby At the start of the 1995 hurricane season Dr. Burpee became Director of NHC, the fourth NHC Director to come from NHRP/NHRL/NHEML/HRD (after Drs. Bob Simpson, Neil Frank, and Bob Sheets). Dr. Hugh Willoughby took over as Director of HRD.

The Division has been experimenting with ensemble predictions. Small perturbations are introduced into a computer model's initial conditions and run several times with different perturbations. The resulting suite of forecasts are then synthesized into one forecast, one from which most chaotic noise has been reduced. These ensemble forecasts help point to areas over the open ocean from which data is most critical, and G-IV dropsonde flights can be planned for these sections.

HRD scientist, with their experience with both the G-IV jet and GPS sondes, participated in the NORth Pacific EXperiments (NORPEX) in 1998 and 1999. Run at the same time as the CALJET experiment using the P3 aircraft, these experiments measured Pacific storms that could threaten the western U.S. coast and examined how they might be affected by the 1997-98 El Niño. NORPEX in 1999 has been renamed Winter Storm Reconnaissance '99. And HRD participation continued with Winter Storm Reconnaissance 2000, operating out of Anchorage, studying Gulf of Alaska polar lows, and WSR 2001, operated out of Honolulu, studying Kona lows and jet stream turbulence.

Work continues on the development on the SFMR as well as a new microwave scatterometer which can measure the wind direction of surface winds from the P3 aircraft, even through rain and clouds. This will provide NHC hurricane specialist with a more accurate assessment of the hurricane's surface winds near the time of landfall.HRD also runs the H*Wind project, which brings together wind measurements from aircraft, satellites, ships, and buoys and creates an integrated near surface wind analysis field. These fields are given to NHC's hurricane specialists in real-time, and are later posted on the World Wide Web for researchers around the globe.

Frank Marks In 2003 Dr. Willoughby left HRD to join Florida International University's International Hurricane Research Center (IHRC). Dr. Frank Marks, for many years the leader of the annual Hurricane Field Program, assumed the Directorship. In 2006, HRD celebrated the 50th Anniversary of its field operations. Ceremonies at AOML were attended by NOAA VIPs and many of the Lab's collaborators.

During the 2002-2004 field programs, HRD participated in the Coupled Bondary Layer Air-Sea Transfer (CBLAST) project along with university partners in examining the lower-level parts of hurricanes. This included flying into the boundary layer of the atmosphere in the clear air between rainbands in hurricane force winds. This resulted in papers on the transfer of energy from the ocean to the air, and turbulence through the lower atmosphere.

The hyperactive 2005 hurricane season pre-empted HRD's participation in the scheduled examination of tropical cyclone formation in the eastern Pacific, and concentrated on the examination of the wealth of hurricane activity in the Gulf of Mexico instead. This included the cooperative Hurricane Raindband and Intensity Experiment (RAINEX) project with university colleagues and the start of the Intensity Forecasting Experiment (IFEX) in partnership with NHC and EMC. Studies of Katrina and Rita provided new insights into the process of Rapid Intesification (RI).


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