As a hurricane approaches landfall, citizens are hoping that they are adequately prepared for the potential damage from strong winds and rising oceans. NOAA’s job is to forecast the storm location and strength, or intensity, to help communities make the best informed decisions. For many scientists, predicting intensity is a challenge at the forefront of hurricane research, and in recent years advancements in observations and modeling have improved NOAA’s forecasts of intensity by 20%. We are now at the point where scientists can observe and predict with very fine detail what is happening in the inner core of the storm.
This hurricane season, NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research will work with NOAA’s National Weather Service to upgrade weather forecast models and conduct research with unmanned air and water craft to improve forecasts of hurricane track and intensity.A highlight this season is the upgrade of the operational Hurricane Weather Research and Forecast system (HWRF), an advanced hurricane prediction model. This year’s version now has increased the resolution from 3 to 2 kilometers, and will use tail Doppler radar data collected from the NOAA P-3 and G-IV hurricane hunter aircraft to improve the storm representation within the model.
NOAA hurricane hunters are prepared to enter a new chapter in the use of unmanned aircraft systems: deploying an unmanned aircraft from an airplane inside a hurricane. Starting on September 14, 2014, NOAA’s hurricane hunting manned aircraft fleet will fly into position to observe any developing tropical systems in the Atlantic using this new tool. The Coyote unmanned aircraft will be the first unmanned aircraft deployed directly inside a hurricane from NOAA hurricane hunter aircraft. The goal of the Coyote is to collect temperature, pressure and wind observations below 3,000 feet, where manned aircraft can not fly safely.
The 2013 Atlantic hurricane season, which officially ended on November 30th, will be noted in the record books as having been a relatively quiet year with the fewest hurricanes since 1982. In fact, it will be ranked as the sixth least-active Atlantic hurricane season since 1950. Despite this, the 2013 season was quite an active […]