Category: Hurricane Research

Thirty years of progress in hurricane forecasting since Hurricane Andrew

Hurricane Andrew made landfall on August 24, 1992, near Homestead, Florida, becoming one of the most catastrophic hurricanes in U.S. history. It had an extremely low central pressure of 922 millibars and maximum sustained wind speeds estimated at 165 miles per hour. The storm rapidly intensified less than 36 hours before landfall, leaving most residents less than a day to secure their homes and heed evacuation orders.

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NOAA and Saildrone Launch Seven Hurricane-Tracking Surface Drones

In partnership with NOAA, Saildrone Inc. is deploying seven ocean drones to collect data from hurricanes during the 2022 hurricane season with the goal of improving hurricane forecasting. For the first year, two saildrones will track hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico.

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New hurricane research supports advances to NOAA’s 2022 forecasts

This summer during the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season, scientists at NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) will once again be on the frontlines helping NOAA prepare the public for severe weather. They will also conduct new research on the complex processes of how tropical cyclones form, develop, and dissipate.

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Scientists Observe Rainfall Under Tropical Cyclones Reduces Sea Surface Cooling

Tropical cyclones intensify by extracting heat energy from the ocean surface, making the sea surface temperature under storms crucial for storm development. A recent study by researchers at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory found that large amounts of rain under tropical cyclones can reduce the sea surface cooling induced by them. 

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Coyote Small Uncrewed Aircraft System Data Improved Hurricane Maria Forecasts

Observations obtained by the Coyote small Uncrewed Aircraft System led to a significant improvement in the analyses of Hurricane Maria’s (2017) position, intensity, and structure, according to new ­research published in the journal Monthly Weather Review. The study by scientists with the University of Miami’s Cooperative ­Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies and Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) highlights how ­the ­Coyote’s novel near-surface measurements helped to more ­accurately depict ­Hurricane Maria’s inner core, ­demonstrating their ability to improve forecasts.

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Hurricane Model that Follows Multiple Storms Improves Intensity Forecasts

Warning the public of the damaging winds in tropical cyclones is critical for safeguarding communities in harm’s way. A new study by hurricane scientists at AOML is the first to quantify the value added to tropical cyclone intensity forecasts by storm-­following nests. The research, published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, demonstrates that storm-­following nests applied to multiple hurricanes in the same forecast cycle can improve intensity predictions by as much as 30%.

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Researchers and Forecasters Team Up to Improve Forecasts in the New Hurricane and Ocean Testbed

After a year and a half of concerted effort between NOAA’s National Hurricane Center (NHC), Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML), and other NOAA offices, including the Weather Program Office, the Hurricane and Ocean Testbed (HOT) has been successfully launched in the newly designed William M. Lapenta Laboratory, named in memory of the late director of the National Centers for Environmental Protection. This testbed establishes a physical and virtual collaboration space for researchers and forecasters.

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Research Explores Impact of Wind Shear Direction on Tropical Cyclone Intensity

The amount of wind shear, i.e., the change of the wind with height, is one of the most commonly used predictors of tropical cyclone intensity change, with large amounts of wind shear generally being unfavorable for intensification. Regardless of the direction of the wind shear, tropical cyclones in the North Atlantic basin usually have warm, moist air from the environment near the sea surface on their east side (solid red arrows in the images) and cool, dry air from the environment on their west side (solid blue arrows in images).

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