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HRD Research supports NOAA's Strategic Plan:

  1. Advance the understanding and prediction of changes in the environment through world class science and observations
  2. Improve preparedness, response, and recovery from weather and water events by building a Weather-Ready Nation

These goals are advanced at HRD through five research themes

  • Observing Techniques-Involves designing, testing, and automating optimal data collection, as well as quality control, analysis, and transmission of data to improve initialization and validation of operational and research tropical-cyclone models, and to further basic understanding.
  • Modeling and Prediction-This research is aimed at developing and improving both multi-layer numerical and statistical-dynamical models for use in real-time tropical cyclone (TC) track and intensity forecasting.
  • Data Assimilation-Focuses on the utilization of a wide range of observations for the state analysis of tropical systems and their near environments for the purpose of studying physical/dynamical processes and improving numerical forecasts by employing advanced ensemble-based and variational techniques.
  • Dynamics and Physics-This research is aimed at improving our understanding of tropical cyclones through the application of fundamental physical principles of air motion, moist thermodynamics, and radiation.
  • Impacts-The multi-faceted nature of hurricane hazards (winds, storm surge, waves, heavy rainfall, flooding, mudslides, etc) continues to result in natural disasters with loss of life and property. HRD scientists are involved in research to advance the understanding of these impacts

Activity at HRD is multifaceted, involving

Field Research

Much of HRD's research is based on the in situ and remotely-sensed observations in the inner core of tropical cyclones and their surrounding environment collected in our annual field program using the two NOAA turboprop aircraft and jet operated by NOAA's Aircraft Operations Center (AOC). The field program is used to carry out scientific experiments designed to address the goals stated above. Data sets gathered by these experiments, combined with dynamical and statistical models and theoretical development, span the spectrum of spatial and temporal scales, from global to microscale, from seconds to centuries, forming the cornerstone of research at HRD. Because of this extensive field experience HRD scientists are recognized internationally for their knowledge about tropical cyclones, and also for their expertise in technological areas such as airborne Doppler radar, dropsondes, cloud microphysics, and air-sea interaction, to name a few. These assets make HRD unique worldwide, and provide NOAA a unique capability.

Coordination and Projects

HRD coordinates parts of its programs with other NOAA organizations, e.g. AOC, National Enviromental Satelltie, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS), and the National Center for Environmental Prediction (NCEP), in particular the Environmental Modeling Center (EMC) and the National Hurricane Center. It maintains active research programs with, and receives funding from other governmental agencies, in particular, the Department of the Navy's Office of Naval Research (ONR) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). In program areas where its is beneficial to NOAA, HRD arranges cooperative programs with scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, and at a number of universities.

Our highest priority is the NOAA Intensity Forecast Experiment (IFEX), developed through a partnership of HRD, EMC, NCEP, and NESDIS. The goals of IFEX are the collection of data to directly aid the development and evaluation of the next generation operational tropical cyclone forecasting model system, the Hurricane Weather Research and Forecast model system (HWRF).

Our current research staff consists of full-time employees, student interns, and contract employees (some working under a cooperative joint agreement with the University of Miami's CIMAS.

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