TG Daily Staff
June 4, 2012
NASA is preparing to deploy a pair of unmanned aircraft above stormy skies to help forecasters improve their understanding of hurricane formation and intensity changes.
Dubbed “severe storm sentinels,” the unmanned Global Hawk aircraft will fly missions along the Atlantic Ocean basin. The Hawk is particularly well-suited for monitoring hurricanes, as it is capable of over-flying hurricanes at altitudes greater than 60,000 feet with flight durations of up to 28 hours – something piloted aircraft would find nearly impossible to do.
“Hurricane intensity can be very hard to predict because of an insufficient understanding of how clouds and wind patterns within a storm interact with the storm’s environment,” explained Scott Braun, HS3 mission principal investigator and research meteorologist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.