There is more to the job of a Hurricane Hunter than meets the eye. Researchers and pilots from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) bravely fly into one of the most dangerous environments on Earth to collect data inside a tropical cyclone, which helps to improve forecast models and protect lives and property.
New Study Looks at How Different Techniques to Model the Hurricane Boundary Layer Can Improve Forecasts
In a new study published in Atmosphere, hurricane scientists looked at how turbulent mixing in the boundary layer affects the intensity and structure of hurricanes in NOAA’s Hurricane Weather Research and Forecasting (HWRF) model. They found that turbulent mixing affects where thunderstorms in hurricanes occur, and how fast air flows towards the center of a storm.
NOAA Hurricane Hunters are flying back-to-back missions to study the newly developed Tropical Storm Hermine in the Gulf of Mexico, capturing its evolution from a cluster of thunderstorms into a tropical storm. Getting data during such transitions can help improve hurricane models which currently don’t predict transitions well. Our understanding of the physical processes of early storm development remains limited, largely because there are few observations.