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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
The active 2021 Atlantic hurricane season ended on November 30, producing 21 named tropical storms (39‑73 mph winds), seven hurricanes (74 mph winds and above), and four major hurricanes (111 mph winds and above). The year will be remembered as the third-most active on record, as well as the third costliest, causing more than $80 billion in damage.
Hurricane scientists at AOML sampled multiple storms this summer as the Atlantic entered its peak period for hurricane formation. From Elsa to Sam, the observations they gathered supported NOAA’s mission of preparing the public for severe weather by providing critical data for accurate, up-to-date forecasts.
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.