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NOAA’s Hurricane Research

Kevin Tsai

Hurricane Isabel imageCan you imagine flying into a cyclone with maximum sustained surface winds of 74 mph (119 km/hr) or faster? Since 1955, researchers from the National Hurricane Research Project have done just that. Their goal has been to collect temperature, humidity, pressure, and radar data to improve our understanding of hurricanes. Their methods, although rudimentary by today’s standards, helped revolutionize hurricane research. [1]

Today, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists continue to send aircraft into hurricanes. NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) hopes to improve our ability to predict hurricane frequency, intensity, direction, and impact on life and property. They study hurricanes via remotely-sensed observation tools and planes equipped with advanced instruments to measure cloud and aerosol particles, wind speed temperatures and pressure, and wave height and sea surface temperature.

NOAA also is working to advance hurricane research through the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL). The GFDL, in conjunction with NOAA’s Environmental Modeling Center, is developing a hurricane forecast modeling system that will allow scientists at NOAA’s National Hurricane Center, the direct descendant of the original National Hurricane Research Project, to generate real-time tropical forecasts. [2]

Through the application of such progressive forecasting models, scientists hope to gain a better understanding of hurricane systems and how to predict and prepare for their impact.

For more information on NOAA hurricane research and NOAA weather research in general, visit http://www.oar.noaa.gov/weather/, and learn more about IEDRO’s data rescue efforts at http://www.iedro.org.

[1] http://celebrating200years.noaa.gov/foundations/atmospheric/welcome.html

[2] http://www.research.noaa.gov/weather/t_hurricanes.html

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