Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Eye-To-Eye, And Bonnie Winks: NASA/NOAA Team Makes First Sortie Into Hurricane

Date:
August 26, 1998
Source:
NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center--Space Sciences Laboratory
Summary:
A converted DC-8 jet airliner, outfitted as a remote sensing laboratory, took weather researchers on an historic ride Sunday into the eye of Hurricane Bonnie as she churned in the Atlantic near the Bahama Islands.

August 24, 1998 -- A converted DC-8 jet airliner, outfitted as a remote sensing laboratory, took weather researchers on an historic ride Sunday into the eye of Hurricane Bonnie as she churned in the Atlantic near the Bahama Islands.

And while looking Bonnie in the eye, she winked.

Ocean waves, whipped by Bonnie to 2.4 to 3.6 meters (8-12 ft) high, crashed ashore a few hundred meters from the runway at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., where a DC-8 prepared for the first-ever NASA jet flight into the eye of an Atlantic hurricane on Sunday afternoon.

The jetliner, flying at 11 km (37,000 ft), was joined at the storm by a NASA ER-2 jet overhead at 19.8 km (65,000 ft), and a NOAA WP-3D Orion turboprop 4.6 km (15,000 ft). The NASA planes took off at 1:34 p.m. EDT on their seven-hour mission.

"This is a significant achievement for this hurricane study," said Robbie Hood, mission scientist from NASA's Global Hydrology and Climate Center in Huntsville, Ala. "We achieved our number one objective, that we could accomplish the tricky maneuver of placing all three NASA and NOAA aircraft in the study of the structure of the same storm at the same time."

The research program, called CAMEX-3, is a combined study effort including eight NASA Centers, NOAA, and a contingent of scientists from universities across the nation.

The aircraft performed four passes over the eye of the then-Category-2 storm, centered at 24.5 N, 71.4 W. Two of the passes were coordinated with a NOAA Orion passing below. Researchers could not see into the eye on two passes due to cloud cover, but recorded infrared images on each pass. The location of the eye was obtained by information passed along by scientists stationed at Patrick Air Force Base or aboard NOAA's Orion aircraft (like the one at right).

Once the aircraft reached the first hurricane of the 1998 season, the researchers encountered an unusual phenomenon: As the three aircraft flew in a stacked pattern, the eye wall turned from an oval to a oblong shape.

"This reshaping of the eye wall is characteristic of a hurricane that has stalled, and is preparing for a dramatic shift, either stronger or dying," said Dr. Ed Zipser, a weather expert from Texas A&M University.

Another impressive step was taken when NASA researchers gave Bonnie some eye drops. Ten small tubes containing miniature weather stations were dropped into Bonnie's shifting eye to check her vital signs ­ wind speeds, barometric pressure, and humidity levels. The tiny weather stations dropped into the middle of the eye verified the readings the DC-8 remote sensing instruments were reading at 11 km (37,000 ft).

Dropsondes can measure temperature, horizontal wind speed, pressure, and humidity from altitudes as great as 24 km (15 mi) until landing. The sondes themselves are marvels of miniaturization, only 7 cm (2.75 in) in diameter and 40.6 cm (16 in) long, and weighing just 400 grams (less than a pound).

The RSS903 dropsonde used in CAMEX-3 and other campaigns were developed by the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the German Space Agency (DLR) jointly developed the new model to use advanced sensors and to incorporate Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) receivers. This last feature gives scientists precise measurements of the sonde's location - including altitude - as it is carried along by a storm.

Weather forecast

With Bonnie pushing towards the coast, wrote forecaster R. Wohlman, the Eastern U.S. is dominated by an intense high-pressure region. This is causing any shortwaves from the west to ride far north into Minnesota, Michigan, and Illinois. Otherwise, Ohio valley through Colorado is clear. Remnants of Tropical Storm Charlie, which charged ashore in the Texas gulf region, have slowed, filled and dropped lots of much needed rain over the southern half of the dry Lone Star state. I would expect that this moisture, which shows up well in the satellite water vapor imagery, would continue its westward movement. A large region of cloudiness and associated moisture is moving thou the New England states, and is forecast to slowly drift off shore. If there is a weakness in the extensive anti-cyclonic area over the U.S., it might develop just offshore, between that high and the one located in the mid-Atlantic.

Meanwhile, Bonnie continues to develop nicely. Winds up to 167 km/h (90 knots) sustained observed in the morning reconnaissance, but much to the consternation of the forecasters at the National Hurricane Center, forward motion has all but ceased. At 11 a.m. (15Z), Bonnie was centered at 24.2N, 71.6W and forecast to start moving northwest, then gradually shift northward. Bonnie's recalcitrance is causing the various forecast programs, which had once seemed to be converging on a fairly uniform track, to appear to be diverging again.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center--Space Sciences Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center--Space Sciences Laboratory. "Eye-To-Eye, And Bonnie Winks: NASA/NOAA Team Makes First Sortie Into Hurricane." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 August 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/08/980826083909.htm>.
NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center--Space Sciences Laboratory. (1998, August 26). Eye-To-Eye, And Bonnie Winks: NASA/NOAA Team Makes First Sortie Into Hurricane. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/08/980826083909.htm
NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center--Space Sciences Laboratory. "Eye-To-Eye, And Bonnie Winks: NASA/NOAA Team Makes First Sortie Into Hurricane." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/08/980826083909.htm (accessed September 19, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Friday, September 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) — An out-of-control Northern California wildfire has nearly 2,800 people from their homes as it continues to grow, authorities said Thursday. Authorities said a man has been arrested on suspicion of arson for starting the fire on Saturday. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) — Grand the elephant has successfully undergone surgery to remove a portion of infected tusk at Tbilisi Zoo in Georgia. British veterinary surgeons used an electric drill to extract the infected piece. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins