An ocean drone films first inside a hurricane

For the first time, video images collected by an unmanned surface vehicle (USV) from inside a major hurricane crossing the Atlantic Ocean have been released.

Chartered by NOAA, the Saildrone Explorer SD 1045 headed in the middle of Hurricane Sam, a Category 4 hurricane, which as of September 30 was on a safe path to the east coast of the United States.

SD1045 battled waves of more than 15 meters and winds of more than 180 kilometers per hour to collect critical scientific data, and in the process, has provided an entirely new vision of one of the most destructive forces on Earth. The video with the images is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQM_03zuSAI.

Equipped with a specially designed “hurricane wing”, allowing it to operate in extreme wind conditions, the SD 1045 challenges Hurricane Sam in the open sea, collecting real-time observations for numerical hurricane prediction models, which are expected to provide new insights into how Large and destructive tropical cyclones grow and intensify.

SD 1045 is one of a fleet of five Saildrones “hurricanes” that have been operating in the Atlantic Ocean during hurricane season, collecting data 24 hours a day to help understand the physical processes of hurricanes. This knowledge is critical to improving storm forecasting and is expected to reduce the loss of human life by enabling better preparedness in coastal communities.

“Saildrone goes where no research ship has ever ventured, sailing directly into the eye of the hurricane, collecting data that will transform our understanding of these powerful storms,” ​​Richard Jenkins, founder and CEO of Saildrone, said in a statement. “After conquering the Arctic and the Southern Ocean, hurricanes were the last frontier for Saildrone’s survival. We are proud to have designed a vehicle capable of operating in the most extreme weather conditions in the world.”

The Saildrone provide data directly to NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory and the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, Saildrone’s partners in this mission.

“With the data collected by the saildrons, we hope to improve the forecasting models that predict the rapid intensification of hurricanes,” said NOAA scientist Greg Foltz. “Rapid intensification, when hurricane force winds pick up in a matter of hours, is a serious threat to coastal communities. New data from saildrones and other unmanned systems used by NOAA will help us better predict the forces driving hurricanes already. be able to warn communities earlier. “

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