Hurricane hunting evolves with new technology
The National Hurricane Center has beefed up its program to test out new ideas for understanding and communicating how a storm will evolve
The 2022 Atlantic hurricane season begins on June 1, and Colorado State researchers are predicting it'll be more active than usual.
The CSU forecast calls for 19 named storms, nine of which could become hurricanes with winds of at least 74 mph. Experts say out of the hurricanes, four of them could be major (Category 3 or higher) with winds of at least 115 mph.
Research tells us that hurricanes form, strengthen and weaken because of super complex interactions between the ocean and the atmosphere.
NOAA makes a tremendous effort to gather as much data as possible from planes, satellites and lately very innovative devices that they send into the storms to get a detailed understanding of the current state of the storm and the surrounding environment.
Historically, there's lots of research in the realm of improving hurricane prediction, but it's been doggedly difficult to transition that research into an operational environment, according to Jamie Rhome, the deputy director of NOAA's National Hurricane Center in Miami.
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"What we've done with the new Hurricane and Ocean Testbed is to build a dedicated space for researchers and research projects to work right alongside our operational forecasters in the Hurricane Center to really put these systems under a real world test to help harden them and ready them for ultimate transition into operations," Rhome said.
When a new systems or processes are created, the timetable for getting it into operation when a hurricane is threatening the coast has been a historical challenge and why there was a need for the Hurricane and Ocean Testbed.
"Historically you kind of had to take a shot at it, and sometimes you would get experiments that, under the strain of a real-world hurricane, wouldn't perform well in real world as they perform in a lab or laboratory environment," Rhome said.
With the new testbed, the National Hurricane Center said they will be able to accelerate the time necessary and ensure a greater probability of success and a greater number of projects do successfully transition over.
"So we're hoping to cut that timeline down … from several years to perhaps a year or two," Rhome said.
HERE'S WHY THE ATLANTIC HURRICANE SEASON RUNS FROM JUNE TO NOVEMBER
The graphic below shows the complete list of names selected by a committee of the World Meteorological Organization for the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season.