Flying High In the Sky… But In A Hurricane??

The newest aviation technologies are really helping scientists across a wide variety of fields complete research that otherwise could not be done. Whether it’s in space or just in the upper atmosphere, researchers are always trying new and innovative ways to get up above to see what’s going on.

For instance, NASA is using the active 2012 hurricane season to experiment with its newest meteorological technology. The national science and technology laboratory has chosen this week to fly an unmanned Global Hawk aircraft over the dangerous waters of Tropical Storm Leslie. The day-long flight from California to Virginia was part of NASA’s Hurricane and Severe Storm Sentinel (HS3) mission.

The mission is the first time that the unmanned Global Hawk aircrafts are being used on the eastern coast of the United States. NASA will also fly out two more Global Hawks as part of the month-long HS3 mission out of Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The aircrafts will be operated on the ground from Wallops and Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base. The planes can fly over tropical systems at elevations above 60,000 feet and can stay in the air for 28 hours.

Courtesy of NASA.gov

The specific mission was ordered by the federal government to assist both researchers and weather forecasters unearth information about how tropical storms and hurricanes not only form in the Atlantic Ocean, but intensify over warm waters. The data that the aircrafts receive will be used by the teams to determine intensity change. Global Hawks will also measure temperature, water vapor, precipitation and winds from the surface of the storm all the way up to the lower stratosphere.

This interesting information just reminded me of something one of my friends from school said last year in a forecast discussion: Whether the weather is hot, or whether the weather is dark and stormy, remember the weather forever because it’s always high in the sky.

by Scott Sincoff

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