NASA to take a birdseye view of hurricanes like never before

Mike Schuler
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July 13, 2010

Forum member and unofficial gCaptain weather guru, Fredwx, points us to an interesting article detailing NASA’s Genesis and Rapid Intensification Processes experiment, which aims to provide scientist with an unprecedented look inside the formation of hurricanes like never before.  Using NASA’s Global Hawk unmanned aircraft – the same Northrop Grumman-made model as flown by the U.S. Air Force – NASA will take a birdseye view of hurricanes from up to 65,000 feet and be provided with the longest continuous observation of tropical cyclone development ever recorded by an aircraft.

This August and September, NASA is leading an aircraft campaign that will provide a sustained and unprecedented look at the inner workings of hurricane formation and intensification. The Genesis and Rapid Intensification Processes (GRIP) experiment will take place from Aug. 15 to Sept. 30 and employ three NASA aircraft flying over the Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea to try to answer some of the basic but still lingering questions about how and why hurricanes form and strengthen.

NASA has flown over hurricanes before to gather data on precipitation, winds, convection, temperature and other factors that are known cyclone ingredients. The logistical demands of doing so have only allowed for two to four hours of data collection at a time, a snapshot of a storm that could spin for days. But for the first time, scientists will fly an unmanned drone, outfitted with 3-D radar, a microwave radiometer and other instruments over tropical systems for up to 20 consecutive hours.  Keep Reading

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