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Dropwindsonde Data from Global Hawk used for First Time During Hurricane Franklin

14 Aug 2017, 4:11 pm

For the first time, data from dropwindsondes released by the Global Hawk aircraft were used by NOAA Global Forecast System to predict where Franklin might track, how strong it would get, and other weather around the globe.  A total of 48 dropsondes were released by the Global Hawk on the morning and afternoon of August 9th in the Gulf of Mexico in the usually data sparse Bay of Campeche.  The mission was part of the East Pacific Origins and Characteristics of Hurricanes (EPOCH) Project.

[Wind velocity analysis (shaded and grey arrows) from the NOAA P3 Doppler Radar from its flight into Hurricane Franklin on August 9th, and dropwindsonde observations from the Global Hawk (black) from its flight above Franklin at the same time.  The pennants show wind speed of 25 m/s, the long barbs show wind speed of 5 m/s, and the short barbs represent wind speed of 2.5 m/s;  the posts show the wind direction (toward the circle).  The temperature (in Celsius) is shown above and left of the circle; the relative humidity (%) is shown below and left of the circle.  The top image shows the data at 1 km above the ocean surface; the bottom image shows the data at 16.5 km above the ocean surface.]

The high-altitude, unmanned Global Hawk has been used since 2012 to gather data in and around hurricanes in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.  The data have previously been used in hurricane models like the Hurricane Weather Research and Forecast (HWRF) and the U. S. Navy’s Coupled Ocean/Atmosphere Mesoscale Prediction System for Tropical Cyclones (COAMPS-TC) models, and global models like the Integrated Forecast Model of the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, the Unified Model of the United Kingdom MetOffice, and the Navy Global Environmental Model .  The Hurricane Franklin flight marks a milestone in getting the data into the suite of NOAA weather prediction models.


For WeatherNation: Meteorologist Mace Michaels

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