Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

NASA HS3 Mission Global Hawk's Bullseye in Hurricane Edouard

24.10.2014

NASA's Hurricane Severe Storms Sentinel or HS3 mission flew the unmanned Global Hawk aircraft on two missions between Sept. 11 and 15 into Hurricane Edouard and scored a bullseye by gathering information in the eye of the strengthening storm.

Scientists saw how upper-level wind shear was affecting Edouard on the HS3's Global Hawk flight of the 2014 campaign over Sept. 11 and 12, and saw the hurricane strengthen during the sixth flight on Sept. 15 and 16.


On September 14, NASA's Terra satellite captured this image of Tropical Storm Edouard at 10:35 a.m. EDT (14:35 UTC).

Image Credit: NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team

NASA's HS3 mission returned to NASA's Wallops Flight Facility, in Wallops Island Virginia for the third year to investigate the processes that underlie hurricane formation and intensity change in the Atlantic Ocean basin.  

NASA's Global Hawk aircraft are unmanned and autonomously operated. That means that pilots located in a control room on the ground continuously monitor the flights. The flight plans are pre-programmed into the Global Hawk's flight control computer from takeoff to landing. However, with guidance from HS3’s mission scientists, the pilots often make changes or adjustments to the flight pattern to target particular areas of the storms.

Two of the instruments aboard the Global Hawk that gathered data are the S-HIS and CPL. The S-HIS or Scanning High-resolution Interferometer Sounder gathered a continuous sampling of temperature and relative humidity in the clear-air environment, while the CPL or Cloud Physics Lidar analyzed the vertical structure of aerosols (tiny particles) and the vertical structure of the cloud layers of the hurricane.

In addition to the S-HIS and CPL, the Advanced Vertical Atmospheric Profiling System (AVAPS) launched into the hurricane dropsondes that measured profiles of temperature, humidity and full tropospheric wind (winds in every level of the troposphere from top to bottom as the sonde falls).

The Fifth Science Mission Provides a Look at Newly Formed Tropical Storm Edouard's Layers

During the Sept. 11-12 flights over Tropical Storm Edouard, "At 800 millibars (about 2 km or 1.2 miles above the surface) the wind field showed a well-organized cyclonic circulation with winds of at least 35 knots (40.2 mph/64.8 kph) on the eastern side of the storm," said Dr. Scott Braun, HS3 Mission Principal Investigator from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

"The air was generally moist at most dropsonde points except for a few places at large distance from the center and right near the center. The point near the center showed evidence of substantial subsidence (sinking motions) and warming, a relatively weaker wind speed, and a surface pressure of 999 millibars, reminiscent of potentially indicating conditions in a forming eye."

 Data from higher levels in the atmosphere, at 400 millibars, also proved interesting. The data showed that Edouard's center of circulation was located northeastward of the lower center at 800 millibars. That means that there was westerly to southwesterly vertical wind shear pushing the higher-level of circulation away from the lower level one. "Secondly," Braun said, "very dry air was being swept into the southern portion of the storm by moderate-strength westerly winds. The combination of shear and dry air aloft likely kept Edouard a weak tropical storm."

The Global Hawk concluded its fifth science flight on Sept. 12 at 5:50 p.m. EDT when it landed on the runway at Wallops.

The Sixth Science Mission Shoots a Bullseye!

On Sunday morning, September 14, 2014 at 1102 UTC (7:02 a.m. EDT) NASA's Global Hawk 872 took off from NASA Wallops on a second flight toward Tropical Storm Edouard for a 24 hour mission. It was the sixth science flight for the Global Hawk during the HS3 mission.

When the Global Hawk departed from Wallops, Edouard was a tropical storm. At 5 a.m. EDT Edouard had 70 mph sustained winds, and it only needed to reach 74 mph to be declared a Category One hurricane. The National Hurricane Center expected Edouard to become a hurricane soon after the flight departed.

Scott Braun, HS3 Principal Investigator, and Paul Newman, HS3 deputy principal investigator, both of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland were monitoring the flight. At 8 a.m. EDT they noted that Edouard's winds remained at 70 mph and the minimum central pressure was at 992 millibars, but had recently formed an eye.

They observed that Edouard was interacting with southerly wind shear, but anticipated that the shear would weaken over time, which would allow Edouard to strengthen.  Data showed that Edouard had dry air wrapping around the circulation, but it was unclear if it was inhibiting development.  

By 8:35 p.m. EDT on Sunday, Sept. 14, "Science Flight #6 was proceeding into the previously named Tropical Storm Edouard now called Hurricane Edouard, which is Category one in wind speed," said Ronald Walsh, Senior Project Manager at NASA Wallops.

Michael L. Black, one of HS3's mission scientists and a Research Meteorologist in NOAA's Hurricane Research Division, Miami, Florida said "I’ve been working the overnight shift and evidently, Edouard has been undergoing a period of fairly substantial rapid intensification. We have had several drops near the eye/eyewall border that have reported a sea-level pressure of 969-970 millibars. These sondes had near-surface winds approaching 90 knots (103.6 mph/166.7 kph), so obviously the central pressure in the eye would be lower, perhaps as low as 960 millibars." In all, the Global Hawk dropped 80 sondes over the storm at high frequency and many were very near the eye of the storm.

Global Hawk 872 landed around 7 a.m. EDT on Monday, September 15, 2014 concluding its sixth science flight.

The Global Hawk returned to Hurricane Edouard twice more. Flight seven occurred on Sept. 16-17 after Edouard briefly attained major hurricane intensity (Category 3, the first such intense storm that the Global Hawk overflew as part of HS3). Flight eight was on Sept. 18-19 when Edouard rapidly weakened from a hurricane to a weak tropical storm.

The HS3 mission is funded by NASA Headquarters and overseen by NASA's Earth System Science Pathfinder Program at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. It is one of five large airborne campaigns operating under the Earth Venture program.

The HS3 mission also involves collaborations with partners including the National Centers for Environmental PredictionNaval Postgraduate SchoolNaval Research LaboratoryNOAA's Unmanned Aircraft System Program, Hurricane Research Division and Earth System Research LaboratoryNorthrop Grumman Space TechnologyNational Center for Atmospheric ResearchState University of New York at AlbanyUniversity of Maryland - Baltimore CountyUniversity of Wisconsin, and University of Utah. The HS3 mission is managed by the Earth Science Project Office at NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California. The aircraft are maintained and based at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California.

Rob Gutro

NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

Rob Gutro | Eurek Alert!
Further information:
http://www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/nasa-hs3-mission-global-hawks-bullseye-in-hurricane-edouard/

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht GPM sees deadly tornadic storms moving through US Southeast
01.12.2016 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht Cyclic change within magma reservoirs significantly affects the explosivity of volcanic eruptions
30.11.2016 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>