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The Hurricane Research Division's (HRD) mission is to advance the understanding and prediction of hurricanes and other tropical weather. HRD's research is based on a combination of computer models, theories, and observations, with particular emphasis on data obtained with research aircraft. The goals of this research are to :

  1. Advance the prediction of tropical cyclone intensity change by improving understanding of the processes that modulate internal storm dynamics and storm interactions with the atmosphere and ocean below;
  2. Improve the prediction of tropical cyclone tracks through an optimal analysis of observations of field observations that enhance understanding of the interactions between a tropical cyclone and its environment;
  3. Improve the understanding of and ability to predict tropical cyclone frequency and intensity on intraseasonal, interannual, decadal and longer time scales; and
  4. Enhance the ability to diagnose and predict the impact of tropical cyclones on life and property through wind, rain, waves, and storm surge.

These goals are accomplished by :

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 and the National Center for Environmental Prediction (NCEP), in particular the Environmental Modeling Center and the Tropical Prediction Center/OAR (NHC). 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 HRD, it arranges cooperative programs with scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, and at a number of universities. One of the highest priority experiments in 2002 was a study of the upper-ocean heat content in collaboration with an NSF sponsored research effort at the University of Miami. Our second-highest priority (through 2004) is the Coupled Boundary Layer Air-Sea Transfer (CBLAST) Experiment focused on improving numerical model parameterization of the air-sea transfer of energy that fuels the storms. HRD also integrated two recent NASA field experiments, the Third and Fourth Convective and Moisture Experiments (CAMEX-3 & 4), into its field program in 1998 and 2001, respectively. NASA is considering a Fifth CAMEX in 2005.

Our current research staff consists of both full-time U.S. Government employees and employees working under a cooperative joint agreement with the University of Miami's CIMAS, along with several student interns working under various grants and scholarships.

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