Postcards III: Robot aircraft for hurricane research

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:46 PM GMT on April 30, 2008

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I'm in Orlando this week for the 28th Conference on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology, sponsored by the American Meteorological Society. The conference, held once every two years, brings together the world's experts on hurricane science.

Robot aircraft for hurricane research
The age of Uncrewed Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for hurricane research is upon us. NASA promoted the use of their Global Hawk UAV in a talk Monday here in Orlando, and yesterday, talks about another UAV--the aerosonde--were delivered by Joe Cione and Guy Cascella of NOAA. Unlike the Global Hawk, the aerosonde has already made flights into hurricanes--into Category 1 Hurricane Ophelia in 2005, and into Category 1 conditions in the extratropical version of Hurricane Noel in 2007. The aerosonde can monitor conditions near the sea surface, where it is too dangerous to fly crewed aircraft. Data taken near the sea surface are particularly important for determining if a hurricane may undergo rapid intensification. The researchers propose to fly the Aerosonde as low as 200 feet inside a hurricane.


Figure 1. The Aerosonde in flight. Image credit:NASA.

The aerosonde is a $50,000 propeller-driven airplane with a 1.6 horsepower engine, made by Aerosonde, based in Melbourne, Australia. The plane can fly 2300 miles on 1.5 gallons of fuel at a cruising speed of 60 mph--good enough for a 20 hour flight. In 2007, an aerosonde spent 17.5 hours in 'Noreaster Noel off the U.S. East Coast, after the hurricane had transitioned to a powerful extratropical storm.

The aerosonde has not been given clearance by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to fly near the U.S. coast, because of concerns that the robot aircraft might encounter other aircraft skirting the storm, according to a Florida Sun Sentinel article posted earlier this year. The FAA does plan to give the aerosonde clearance late in 2008--with restrictions. So, for this year, the aerosonde will fly out of Barbados, where it has been given approval to fly. A 2-week research project is scheduled beginning September 1. So far, the aerosonde has not flown into anything stronger than a Category 1 storm, and the researchers are eager to test the aircraft in a "real" storm this year. The aerosonde will also be "on call" for rapid deployment anywhere in the Caribbean during the period September 15-October 31.

Jeff Masters

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265. rider51
12:00 AM GMT on May 06, 2008
hello everone not long till the 08 season will start the last to years have been good season to me after all im here in mississippi and we all remember katrina here . i think the 08 season should be another season like 06&07 the weather pattern have channged a little . looks like the bermuda is not going to be there . also looks like this season going to start off slow also. but to me when it does keep your eye on the carri. i think our first name storm will come from there this year like ever year i make my forcast for the season the first of march and this year im going with 15 name storms 10 hurri. & 3 maj hurri. im sticking with the gom seeing alot more this year west fl. and tex. geating a maj. hurri. less all pull togather and hope this season will be a safe one. c u all on my next posting .
tommy
264. atmoaggie
11:00 PM GMT on May 01, 2008
Greeting and salutations, earthling 456.
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12461
263. Cavin Rawlins
10:21 PM GMT on May 01, 2008
good evening all
Member Since: July 24, 2005 Posts: 407 Comments: 19076
262. listenerVT
10:06 PM GMT on May 01, 2008
Does anyone know in what part of Burma Chevron Oil has its platforms?

I wonder if T.C. Nargis will disrupt production.

I was very sad to read this today about Chevron in Burma:
http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/050108C.shtml
Member Since: July 11, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 5500
261. moonlightcowboy
9:27 PM GMT on May 01, 2008
New blog, StormW and Stormchaser.
Member Since: July 9, 2006 Posts: 184 Comments: 29608
259. Stormchaser2007
9:22 PM GMT on May 01, 2008
Well if the GFS is correct (and it wont be) than well be set up for the Cape Verde season by May 17.

Member Since: June 9, 2007 Posts: 4 Comments: 15881
258. moonlightcowboy
9:18 PM GMT on May 01, 2008
CA, I'm aware of the active period, but thanks for the reminder. My post said, "If one were to go strictly by ENSO historical values alone..."
Member Since: July 9, 2006 Posts: 184 Comments: 29608
257. CaneAddict
9:15 PM GMT on May 01, 2008
255. CaneAddict 9:11 PM GMT on May 01, 2008
244. moonlightcowboy 8:26 PM GMT on May 01, 2008
238. Ivansrvivr 3:05 PM CDT on May 01, 2008 Personally I think the warming will slow quite a bit from here on but if the warming doesnt hit the brakes soon, the whole picture changes.


If one were to go strictly by ENSO historical values alone, from cooling to neutral to late warming conditions, the seemingly more fitting years with those similarities are 1951, 1968, or possibly 1986, 1994 and 2004. Those season scenarios here

2004 out of those for years would seem like the most fittings, As the other 3 of those years were before the "Active Hurricane Period" began


Also that year would seem to be the best comparison due to it being within the Active Hurricane Period, If you notice for example Taz's post with the 4 La nina years, 4 El nino years and the 4 Neutral years they were all years AFTER the "Active Hurricane Period" began, Which goes to tell me the best comparing would be with years AFTER the active hurricane period when it comes to numbers and such.
Member Since: October 5, 2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 2151
256. listenerVT
9:11 PM GMT on May 01, 2008
T.C. Nargis is packing quite a punch today, eh?

All the best of luck to anyone in its path.

Member Since: July 11, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 5500
255. CaneAddict
9:11 PM GMT on May 01, 2008
244. moonlightcowboy 8:26 PM GMT on May 01, 2008
238. Ivansrvivr 3:05 PM CDT on May 01, 2008 Personally I think the warming will slow quite a bit from here on but if the warming doesnt hit the brakes soon, the whole picture changes.


If one were to go strictly by ENSO historical values alone, from cooling to neutral to late warming conditions, the seemingly more fitting years with those similarities are 1951, 1968, or possibly 1986, 1994 and 2004. Those season scenarios here


2004 out of those for years would seem like the most fittings, As the other 3 of those years were before the "Active Hurricane Period" began.
Member Since: October 5, 2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 2151
254. CaneAddict
9:05 PM GMT on May 01, 2008
245. Tazmanian 8:28 PM GMT on May 01, 2008
with this year now being neutral my forcast is for 28 name storms this like 2005


I don't think we will get quite that many storms...Maybe a little more then what the current forecast calls for, ONLY if we stay in Neutral and dont switch to El nino to quickly, And that is also if conditions fall into place the right way, I say about 17-18 named storms.
Member Since: October 5, 2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 2151
253. Drakoen
8:46 PM GMT on May 01, 2008
252. moonlightcowboy 8:44 PM GMT on May 01, 2008
251. Drakoen 3:40 PM CDT on May 01, 2008
I'm trying to finish my blog for you guys today. There is so much stuff I wrote I had to save it in Microsoft Word yesterday and continue today....

....whao, Drakoen! That sounds serious! But, looking forward to it!


The good news is that I finished more than half of it. I have 3 more topics left to cover and I will be able to release when I have seen and my predictions.
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30248
252. moonlightcowboy
8:44 PM GMT on May 01, 2008
251. Drakoen 3:40 PM CDT on May 01, 2008
I'm trying to finish my blog for you guys today. There is so much stuff I wrote I had to save it in Microsoft Word yesterday and continue today....


....whao, Drakoen! That sounds serious! But, looking forward to it!
Member Since: July 9, 2006 Posts: 184 Comments: 29608
251. Drakoen
8:40 PM GMT on May 01, 2008
I'm trying to finish my blog for you guys today. There is so much stuff I wrote I had to save it in Microsoft Word yesterday and continue today....
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30248
250. atmoaggie
8:32 PM GMT on May 01, 2008
No quickscat data...for now. No immediate worry yet, though, about the satellite itself (1997 launch with a 3 year design life) as the SAFS is a file server. It probably will not be available for a few days.

From email:
"
*Details of the Outage:

*ESPC is not receiving QUIKSCAT data. The following msg was received from
the flight controller at the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space
Science in Boulder, CO:

The SAFS prime is down right now.

*Data Affected by the Outage:

*Scatterometer data* *

*Date and Time of the Outage:

*5/1/2008, 1617 UTC, 1216 P.M.* *EDT

*Length of the Outage:

*Until further notice* *
"
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12461
249. all4hurricanes
8:32 PM GMT on May 01, 2008
I expect an active season but more like 2004 or 2003
Member Since: March 29, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2370
248. moonlightcowboy
8:31 PM GMT on May 01, 2008
Hey, TAZ! I sure hope not! BAD news, that would be! Whew!
Member Since: July 9, 2006 Posts: 184 Comments: 29608
247. Patrap
8:31 PM GMT on May 01, 2008
Hey,MLC..breezy here.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127846
246. moonlightcowboy
8:30 PM GMT on May 01, 2008
Hey, Drakoen, Pat and all!
Member Since: July 9, 2006 Posts: 184 Comments: 29608
245. Tazmanian
8:28 PM GMT on May 01, 2008
with this year now being neutral my forcast is for 28 name storms this like 2005

Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114958
244. moonlightcowboy
8:26 PM GMT on May 01, 2008
238. Ivansrvivr 3:05 PM CDT on May 01, 2008 Personally I think the warming will slow quite a bit from here on but if the warming doesnt hit the brakes soon, the whole picture changes.


If one were to go strictly by ENSO historical values alone, from cooling to neutral to late warming conditions, the seemingly more fitting years with those similarities are 1951, 1968, or possibly 1986, 1994 and 2004. Those season scenarios here.

But, if Ivan's statement were to come true and the warming continues in the fast pattern it has in the last couple of months, then, it could resemble ENSO years like 1957, 1965 and 1972.

1957 saw only six names storms, one hurricane, one major, Audrey, landfalling on the TX/LA coast.

1965
saw only five named storms, one hurricane, one major, Betsy, land-falling in LA

1972
saw only seven named storms, three hurricanes, no major with landfalls in Maine, SC and the "big bend" area of FL and the FL panhandle.

Of course, that would mean good news - a less active season, really lower than normal if the pattern followed those years. Seems waters are warming quicker in the Pac faster than they are in the tAtl; but, that's changing, too. So, I guess we stilll wait, and we'll see!
Member Since: July 9, 2006 Posts: 184 Comments: 29608
243. Drakoen
8:26 PM GMT on May 01, 2008
Good afternoon everyone!
Member Since: October 28, 2006 Posts: 57 Comments: 30248
242. Patrap
8:22 PM GMT on May 01, 2008
National Hurricane Preparedness Week Link



History teaches that a lack of hurricane awareness and preparation are common threads among all major hurricane disasters. By knowing your vulnerability and what actions you should take, you can reduce the effects of a hurricane disaster. Hurricane Preparedness Week during 2008 will be held May 25th through May 31st.
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127846
241. Hawkeyewx
8:17 PM GMT on May 01, 2008
Now the NRL site has Nargis up to 125 mph.

sm20080501.2000.meteo7.x.ir1km_bw.01BNARGIS.110kts-941mb-158N-917E.100pc.jpg
Member Since: July 5, 2005 Posts: 2 Comments: 1924
240. CaneAddict
8:15 PM GMT on May 01, 2008
It's very horrifying to know that this season could be like 2004, Considering as a Florida resident that 4 of the 8 landfalls on the U.S. were in Florida....
Member Since: October 5, 2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 2151
239. all4hurricanes
8:14 PM GMT on May 01, 2008
WU just made a strange reposting of Rosie, Durga, and Neoguri. Odd but nice to see previos storms
Member Since: March 29, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2370
238. Ivansrvivr
8:05 PM GMT on May 01, 2008
23.I read it earlier, but thanks. the big question now is does this rapid pacific warming just stop or continue. We have gone from strongest Nina to neutral in 2 months. Personally I think the warming will slow quite a bit from here on but if the warming doesnt hit the brakes soon, the whole picture changes.
237. hurricane23
7:58 PM GMT on May 01, 2008
Here's bom's lastest update!

Summary: La Nina Pattern fades; Pacific now generally neutral.

READ HERE
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13748
236. moonlightcowboy
7:57 PM GMT on May 01, 2008
SSMI/AMSRE-derived Total Precipitable Water - Indian Ocean LOOP

...wow, the convection with Nargis really pops in one spot on its way to landfall.
Member Since: July 9, 2006 Posts: 184 Comments: 29608
235. Ivansrvivr
7:56 PM GMT on May 01, 2008
23, your 13/7/3 and my 12/7/4 are fairly close.
234. Ivansrvivr
7:54 PM GMT on May 01, 2008
23, the Nina has pulled a disappearing act on us. I doubt it will return as whole Pacific has been warming and SOI keeps dropping. I see a neutral early transitioning to nino by late season. The question is how fast will transition take place, and how strong will nino be if at all???
233. hurricane23
7:48 PM GMT on May 01, 2008
A couple of thoughts this afternoon!

As of now with cooler sst's in several areas across the atlantic basin i dont see a super active season number wise but rather on the normal side with numbers around 13/7/3.Since we are still in a positive AMO phase, I do not think Atlantic Ocean SST anomalies will to much of a negative factor this season.Its worth bringing up the fact that sst's could warm rather quickly futher more then expected during the next 3 months.The way I expect the synoptic weather pattern to play along after looking at the 12-14 ENSO analog landfall years as ive stated previously the eastcoast areas from southern florida to north carolina and even areas futher up north need to be on the look out this season.We should see Neutral to weak la nina conditions through the summer with a slight possibility of a weak nino developing later in the year.
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13748
232. Ivansrvivr
7:48 PM GMT on May 01, 2008
Congrats StormW. If there is anyone here that deserves that spot it is you. This upcoming season has several early hints of being similar to 04. (Cold shiver went down my back as I thought back to 04)
231. NEwxguy
7:47 PM GMT on May 01, 2008
congrats Storm,based on your input here,its well deserved.
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 877 Comments: 15711
230. NEwxguy
7:45 PM GMT on May 01, 2008
It looks like California is going to be in for a very rough fire season
Member Since: September 6, 2007 Posts: 877 Comments: 15711
229. moonlightcowboy
7:45 PM GMT on May 01, 2008
Photobucket
Member Since: July 9, 2006 Posts: 184 Comments: 29608
228. hurricane23
7:44 PM GMT on May 01, 2008
.
Member Since: May 14, 2006 Posts: 8 Comments: 13748
227. Patrap
7:43 PM GMT on May 01, 2008
Morphed Integrated Microwave Imagery at CIMSS (MIMIC)TC NARGIS Link
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 423 Comments: 127846
226. Tazmanian
7:39 PM GMT on May 01, 2008
LOL did they came back from the dead?

: Tropical Storm Neoguri Tropical Cyclone Rosie Tropical Cyclone Durga Tropical Cyclone Nargis
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114958
225. Tazmanian
7:39 PM GMT on May 01, 2008
LOL did they came back from the dead?

: Tropical Storm Neoguri Tropical Cyclone Rosie Tropical Cyclone Durga Tropical Cyclone Nargis
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114958
224. Tazmanian
7:33 PM GMT on May 01, 2008
PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SACRAMENTO CA 330 PM PDT WED APR 30 2008 ...EXTREMELY DRY APRIL FOR SACRAMENTO...STOCKTON...AND MODESTO.... WHILE MOST OF INTERIOR NORTHERN CALIFORNIA HAS EXPERIENCED A VERY DRY APRIL...IN SACRAMENTO...STOCKTON...AND MODESTO IT HAS BEEN THE DRIEST YEAR SINCE 1949. AT THE SACRAMENTO CITY LOCATION ONLY ONE HUNDREDTH OF AN INCH FELL THIS MONTH. THE RECORD FOR THE CITY IS A TRACE SET BACK IN 1949 AND PREVIOUS YEARS. STOCKTON ALSO ONLY RECEIVED ONE HUNDREDTH OF AN INCH THIS MONTH. THE RECORD IS NO PRECIPITATION...AGAIN SET BACK IN 1949. MODESTO RECEIVED JUST A TRACE OF RAIN THIS MONTH. THE RECORD IS NO PRECIPITATION...ONCE AGAIN SET IN 1949
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114958
223. Hawkeyewx
7:30 PM GMT on May 01, 2008
It appears that Nargis will be upgraded to 115 mph this afternoon.

sm20080501.1900.meteo7.x.ir1km_bw.01BNARGIS.100kts-948mb-158N-917E.100pc.jpg
Member Since: July 5, 2005 Posts: 2 Comments: 1924
222. moonlightcowboy
7:24 PM GMT on May 01, 2008


...Nargis
Member Since: July 9, 2006 Posts: 184 Comments: 29608
221. geestar3
7:17 PM GMT on May 01, 2008
I'm a very casual observer, but for what it's worth, there seem to have been a surprising number of tropical cyclones in the Indian Ocean in last month or so. It would be great to see a post from Dr. Masters and the experts on this. It looks like most of the cyclones have not made landfall, but Nargis is predicted to hit Myanmar and maybe Bangladesh at Category 1. A hard hit for a poor countries.
Member Since: April 1, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 7
220. Tazmanian
7:03 PM GMT on May 01, 2008
217. cycloone 6:38 PM GMT on May 01, 2008
When will they retire Hurricane names ??

they not going to retire any Hurricane names this year
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114958
219. CaneAddict
6:41 PM GMT on May 01, 2008
217. cycloone 6:38 PM GMT on May 01, 2008
When will they retire Hurricane names ??


Apparentally when another Katrina rolls through the U.S.
Member Since: October 5, 2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 2151
218. CaneAddict
6:40 PM GMT on May 01, 2008
193. GainesvilleGator 4:19 PM GMT on May 01, 2008
Didn't Dr. Masters post something about the permafrost thawing out in Siberia thus releasing a massive amount of CO2 into the atmosphere? I thought I remember reading a post of this a few years back.

Lets hope we get some tropical moisure in Florida & Georgia to fill up those resevoirs. Prefereably in the form of Tropical Depressions & Tropical Storms.


Yes nothing more then a Tropical Storm is welcome. Unfortunately, We probably will get more then what we bargained for.
Member Since: October 5, 2007 Posts: 3 Comments: 2151
217. cycloone
6:38 PM GMT on May 01, 2008
When will they retire Hurricane names ??
Member Since: March 2, 2003 Posts: 65 Comments: 1009
215. moonlightcowboy
6:14 PM GMT on May 01, 2008
Thanks, StormW. I'll be looking forward to your daily updates.

Just something a little extra - thought you might like to see one of the old maps I ran across last night. It's from August 17, 1969. Notice the (met's) handwriting at the bottom. It says, "later this day Camille down to 901mb, 190mph winds."

Photobucket

I found a couple of others, too. One says some stuff about returning home from his honeymoon, another talks about a heatwave in Montana(I think the high that day was 105 maybe).

(a little hurricane posterity) lol
Member Since: July 9, 2006 Posts: 184 Comments: 29608

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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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