Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

UMass Hurricane Hunters Flying Back Into The Eyes Of Storms; Real-Time Information Helps Predict Hurricanes’ Paths, Intensities

Date:
August 14, 2001
Source:
University Of Massachusetts At Amherst
Summary:
University of Massachusetts researchers will be flying into the eyes of hurricanes again this year, using high-tech weather sensors developed at the University. These airborne sensors help predict the path and intensity of the storms. Scientists expect this hurricane season, which runs thought Oct. 31, to be “above average.”

AMHERST, Mass. – University of Massachusetts researchers will be flying into the eyes of hurricanes again this year, using high-tech weather sensors developed at the University. These airborne sensors help predict the path and intensity of the storms. Scientists expect this hurricane season, which runs thought Oct. 31, to be “above average.” Graduate student Toni Castells is already in Tampa, Fla., installing the instruments in the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) hurricane-hunting aircraft.

Researchers Jim Carswell and David McLaughlin will join him within the week, when the bigger storms are expected to begin brewing. The project is a collaboration between UMass and the NOAA Hurricane Research Division (HRD) and Aircraft Operations Center (AOC). The NOAA groups have been flying into hurricanes since the mid-1970s.

The UMass team is responsible for sending real-time data to the National Hurricane Center in Miami, through a satellite link. This information is used to establish landfall warnings and intensity reports. Pinpoint forecasts give people in threatened areas time to protect their property and evacuate to safety, according to Carswell.

Satellite images can offer an idea of a storm’s location and overall size, Carswell said. But it takes reconnaissance flights to get the more precise information that is critical to forecasting the storm’s path and intensity. Missions last about 10 hours, and entail anywhere from five to more than 15 passes through a storm’s eye, in a cross-shaped pattern, in a NOAA WP-3D airplane equipped to withstand the intense winds and rains of a hurricane.

From the aircraft, the UMass team operates microwave sensors that measure the precipitation in the storm and the winds at the ocean’s surface. The instruments were designed and constructed by researchers at the University’s well-regarded Microwave Remote Sensing Laboratory (MIRSL), which McLaughlin heads. The lab is part of the department of electrical and computer systems engineering.

New this year is a system called IWRAP, Imaging Wind and Rain Airborne Profiler, which is expected to offer much more detailed information than was available to hurricane forecasters in the past. In previous years, researchers were able to gather information for surface swaths that measured roughly five miles across; the new system enables researchers to determine storm winds and rain for much larger swaths while also pinpointing the intensity within areas as small as 100 square meters.

The new system is also expected to be able to provide this information at various altitudes from the ocean’s surface. This fine resolution will make it possible for forecasters to make better predictions about a storm’s intensity and potential path.

“We’ll be able to get very detailed information about the structure of the inner core of the hurricane,” said Carswell. “Activity and intensity at the eyewall are critical in making good predictions about how strong a storm is, and where it’s headed.” IWRAP will be a critical sensor in the Coupled Boundary Layers/Air-Sea Transfer (CBLAST) project, a five-year initiative funded by the U.S. Office of Naval Research (ONR). According to McLaughlin, “IWRAP will help us better understand how storms intensify or weaken when they interact with the warm ocean and the cooler atmosphere, ultimately leading to better prediction of a hurricane’s characteristics at landfall.”

This is Carswell’s fifth season as a hurricane hunter, and the tenth year UMass has been involved in such reconnaissance missions. The UMass team flies along with researchers from NOAA’s HRD and AOC.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Massachusetts At Amherst. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Massachusetts At Amherst. "UMass Hurricane Hunters Flying Back Into The Eyes Of Storms; Real-Time Information Helps Predict Hurricanes’ Paths, Intensities." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 August 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/08/010813081343.htm>.
University Of Massachusetts At Amherst. (2001, August 14). UMass Hurricane Hunters Flying Back Into The Eyes Of Storms; Real-Time Information Helps Predict Hurricanes’ Paths, Intensities. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/08/010813081343.htm
University Of Massachusetts At Amherst. "UMass Hurricane Hunters Flying Back Into The Eyes Of Storms; Real-Time Information Helps Predict Hurricanes’ Paths, Intensities." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/08/010813081343.htm (accessed September 1, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Monday, September 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Washington Wildlife Center Goes Nuts Over Baby Squirrels

Washington Wildlife Center Goes Nuts Over Baby Squirrels

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 30, 2014) An animal rescue in Washington state receives an influx of orphaned squirrels, keeping workers busy as they nurse them back to health. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Volcano Erupts on Papua New Guinea

Raw: Volcano Erupts on Papua New Guinea

AP (Aug. 29, 2014) Several communities were evacuated and some international flights were diverted on Friday after one of the most active volcanos in the region erupts. (Aug. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Small Volcanic Eruption in Iceland

Raw: Small Volcanic Eruption in Iceland

AP (Aug. 29, 2014) Icelandic authorities briefly raised the aviation warning code to red on Friday during a small eruption at the Holuhraun lava field in the Bardabunga volcano system. (Aug. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
As Drought Continues LA "water Police" Fight Waste

As Drought Continues LA "water Police" Fight Waste

AFP (Aug. 29, 2014) In the midst of a historic drought, Los Angeles is increasing efforts to go after people who waste water. Five water conservation "cops" drive around the city every day educating homeowners about the drought. Duration: 02:17 Video provided by AFP
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