For the first time ever, Saildrone Inc. and NOAA have used an uncrewed surface vehicle to collect oceanic and atmospheric data from inside the eye of a hurricane. On September 30th, 2021 saildrone 1045 travelled directly into Category 4 Hurricane Sam.
Saildrone Inc. and the NOAA have released the first video footage gathered by an uncrewed surface vehicle (USV) from inside a major hurricane barreling across the Atlantic Ocean.
The Saildrone Explorer SD 1045 was directed into the midst of Hurricane Sam, a category 4 hurricane, which is currently on a path that fortunately will miss the U.S. east coast. SD1045 is battling 50 foot waves and winds of over 120 mph to collect critical scientific data and, in the process, is giving us a completely new view of one of earth’s most destructive forces.
In January 2021, AOML in partnership with NOAA’s Aircraft Operations Center (AOC) completed the air launch testing of the Air-Launched Autonomous Micro-Observer (ALAMO) profiling float. This testing cleared the ALAMO floats for flight and deployed from the NOAA P3 Hurricane Hunter aircraft during their hurricane reconnaissance missions. The data collected and transmitted by the ALAMO floats will be used to understand the ocean’s interaction with tropical cyclones and improve coupled hurricane forecasting models.
Researchers with AOML’s Ocean Chemistry and Ecosystems Division have entered into a collaborative agreement with Reef Check Foundation to deploy an AOML-designed temperature sensor at coral reef sites around the world. Measuring only six inches in height, the inexpensive, highly-accurate sensors will greatly enhance efforts to more precisely monitor small-scale temperature fluctuations that occur at reefs over time and at various depths.
AOML researchers have taken an innovative approach to studying the changing carbonate chemistry of seawater at shallow coral reef sites. Using 3D printing technology made possible by the new Advanced Manufacturing and Design Lab at AOML, researchers with the Acidification, Climate, and Coral Reef Ecosystems Team, or ACCRETE, have created a water sampler in-house.
On September 5th, NASA’s Global Hawk took off from Wallops Island, Virginia to fly a 24 hour mission over Tropical Storm Fred. The Global Hawk launched dropsondes to measure the wind structure of the storm and gathered other meteorological data such as temperature and moisture with instruments on board. The Global Hawk is part of NOAA’s Sensing Hazards with Operational Unmanned Technology (SHOUT) field campaign.
Scientists and engineers from NOAA have successfully designed, built, and tested a new antenna system that dramatically increases data transmission reliability while drastically reducing operating costs. The new Iridium-based transmission system, developed by NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic & Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) & the Cooperative Institute for Marine & Atmospheric Studies (CIMAS), has no restrictions on data format or size, allowing data from various ocean and land-based observation platforms to be transmitted more reliably and at a fraction of the cost of the older Inmarsat-C platform. Since completion, the Iridium system has been adopted on a number of Expendable Bathythermographs (XBTs) observation transects and have been simultaneously tested and implemented in other AOML observing systems.