Boulder labs to aid study of hurricanes
Researchers from the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Earth System Research Laboratory, which are both based in Boulder, have developed instruments NASA aircraft are about to use to peer into hurricanes.
NOAA and NCAR are working with NASA for its Hurricane and Severe Storm Sentinel mission. The three-year mission will fly two unmanned aircraft around and above hurricanes to study what makes them intensify or weaken and what determines their course. The ultimate goal is to improve hurricane forecasting, according to a press release from NOAA.
NASA will use two 116-foot wingspan Global Hawk aircraft for the mission. The vehicles contain sensors and instruments, and they can fly for more than 24 hours while relaying data back to researchers.
It's the job of instruments designed at NCAR to drop into the storm to get measurements.
The devices, called dropsondes, are 5-ounce instrument packages that are attached to parachutes. NASA's drones will drop them from up to 65,000 feet, and the dropsondes will relay real-time temperature, humidity, pressure and location data as they descend through the storm.
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