NOAA Hurricane Field Program begins with flights into Potential Tropical Cyclone 2 in the Tropical Atlantic – Hurricane Research Division2 min read
The NOAA flight season began early this year with an operational flight into a system, known as Potential Tropical Cyclone 2, that may soon develop into a tropical depression east of the Windward Islands. The plan for the season was recently released and is available online at https://www.aoml.noaa.gov/2022-hurricane-field-program/, and a kickoff meeting to discuss plans for the season was held on 27 June.
In addition to the regular suite of instruments on the NOAA aircraft, NOAA will be testing multiple other instruments for future deployment. Among them are
1. dropwindsondes that, in addition to reporting pressure, temperature, moisture, and wind up to four times per second as they descend to the ocean surface, will also measure the sea surface temperature, an important measure of how much energy is available to fuel the tropical cyclone.
2. A new small Uncrewed Aerial System, known as the Altius-600 is planned to be flown in a tropical cyclone for the first time this year to measure these same parameters where it is unsafe for the large, crewed aircraft to go.
3. A Ka/Ku-band Interferometric Altimeter (KaIA) significant wave height below the aircraft to improve storm surge and other marine forecasts in the vicinity of tropical cyclones.
4. A Compact Rotational Raman Lidar that measures temperature and moisture, critical to understanding their roles in tropical cyclone development.
5. Terrestrial High-energy Observations of Radiation measuring gamma rays that emanate from lightning from inside the tropical cyclone, to help understand the role of thunderstorms in tropical cyclone development.
6. Possible late-season installation of an Airborne Wind Lidar that will measure wind velocity in partly cloud and clear areas where the Doppler Radars aboard the aircraft cannot measure wind.
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