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.
Today, August 25th, the 2020 State of the Climate report was released by the American Meteorological Society, showing 2020 to be one of the hottest years on record since the start of the Industrial Revolution. Even with environmental cooling factors, such as the transition from the El Niño of 2018-2019 to the La Niña of late 2020, global trends indicate the Earth is warming and sea level is rising. Throughout the report, environmental processes that influence climate and these warming trends are documented.
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.
AOML Researchers Monitor Important Boundary Currents in the North Atlantic Ocean Through Direct Measurements at Sea
Researchers from the Physical Oceanography Division of AOML conduct regular hydrographic surveys to monitor the western boundary current system in the subtropical North Atlantic Ocean. These cruises are a part of the laboratory’s long-running Western Boundary Time Series (WBTS) project and are designed to monitor both the Florida Current, east of Florida in the Florida Straits, and the North Atlantic Deep Western Boundary Current east of the Bahamas in the North Atlantic Ocean. These western boundary currents are important parts of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC).
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.
Saildrone is announcing a new mission to deploy five uncrewed surface vehicles (USVs) from the US Virgin Islands in August to gather key data throughout the 2021 Tropical Atlantic hurricane season. The USVs will be equipped with specially designed “hurricane wings” to enable them to operate in extreme conditions. Saildrones are the only USVs capable of collecting this data and are designed to withstand winds over 70 mph and waves over 10 feet, which occur during a hurricane weather system. The five saildrones will sail into the paths of hurricanes to provide valuable real-time observations for numerical hurricane prediction models and to collect new insights into how these large and destructive weather cells grow and intensify.
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.
BGC Argo Floats Provide First Year-Round Net Primary Production Estimates for the Western North Atlantic
Phytoplankton drifting near the ocean surface play a critical role in marine biogeochemistry, carbon cycling, and ecosystem health. But measuring the activity of these microscopic organisms is challenging. Although scientists rely on ship-based sampling and satellites to quantify their abundance, both methods have limitations. In a study published recently in the Journal of Geophysical Research-Biogeosciences,* Argo profiling floats equipped with biogeochemical sensors, i.e., BGC Argo floats, were used to obtain the first year-long estimates of phytoplankton in the western North Atlantic Ocean.
AOML Scientists Develop First-ever Daily Estimates of the Heat Transport in the South Atlantic Ocean
In a recent article published in the Journal of Geophysical Research – Oceans, scientists at AOML evaluate the variability of the heat transport in the South Atlantic by developing a new method to measure its changes on a daily basis. This study presents, for the first time, full‐depth, daily measurements of the volume and heat transported by the Meridional Overturning Circulation (MOC) in the South Atlantic at 34.5°S based on direct observations.