A recent study authored by five NOAA Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) scientists (Lew Gramer, Jun Zhang, Ghassan Alaka, Andrew Hazelton, and Sundararamen Gopalakrishnan) was recently selected out of a variety of publications as a featured paper for EOS Science News by the American Geophysical Union.
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.
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.
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%.
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.
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.
The 2021 hurricane season is off to a busy start with five named storms having already formed in the Atlantic Ocean. Recently, Tropical Storm Claudette travelled directly over three ocean observation platforms, providing key ocean data for the initialization of the ocean component for hurricane forecast models.
In a recent study published in AGU’s Journal of Geophysical Research – Oceans, scientists at AOML identified key ocean features that supported the rapid intensification of Hurricane Michael (2018), despite unfavorable atmospheric conditions for development. The study demonstrates the importance of using realistic ocean conditions for coupled (ocean-atmosphere) hurricane models in order to achieve the most accurate hurricane intensity forecasts.
Scientists at AOML are preparing for the active anticipated 2021 Atlantic hurricane season with the introduction of new observation tools, modeling techniques, and field campaigns to improve hurricane intensity and track forecasts.
Scientists at NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory are now focusing on what happens where the sea meets the atmosphere to help solve the hurricane intensity problem. The place right above where the air meets the sea is called the planetary boundary layer. The ocean drives global weather. By building on past research, scientists have determined that factors in the boundary layer and underlying ocean such as salinity, temperature, currents, wave and wind patterns, precipitation, are crucial to understanding the energy that fuels a hurricane.