Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


NASA Widens 2014 Hurricane Research Mission


During this year's Atlantic hurricane season, NASA is redoubling its efforts to probe the inner workings of hurricanes and tropical storms with two unmanned Global Hawk aircraft flying over storms and two new space-based missions.

NASA's airborne Hurricane and Severe Storm Sentinel or HS3 mission, will revisit the Atlantic Ocean for the third year in a row. HS3 is a collaborative effort that brings together several NASA centers with federal and university partners to investigate the processes that underlie hurricane formation and intensity change in the Atlantic Ocean basin. The flights from Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia take place between Aug. 26 and Sept. 29 during the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season that runs from June 1 to Nov. 30. 

"This year we're going full-force into tropical cyclone research," said Scott Braun, HS3 mission principal investigator and research meteorologist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. "We'll have two Global Hawks equipped with six instruments. The new NASA-JAXA Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Core Observatory will be providing much higher quality data than previously available on rain structure in tropical cyclones in all ocean basins. The surface-wind monitoring ISS-RapidScat instrument to be launched to the International Space Station this season will provide valuable information on surface winds in storms."

One of the remaining mysteries that HS3 is attempting to solve is the effect of the hot, dry and dusty Saharan Air Layer (SAL) in tropical storm formation and intensification. Some research points to SAL contributing to storm formation, while other research indicates SAL suppresses it. HS3 also will investigate the role of strong thunderstorms near the core of the storms as a possible driver of intensity change.   

... more about:
»Atlantic »Earth »GPM »HS3 »Hurricane »NASA »storms »structure »tropical »winds

This year NOAA, in addition to managing all of the dropsondes during the HS3 mission, will enable the mission to fly another week to better study tropical cyclones. A dropsonde is a device that measures winds, temperature and humidity, dropped from an aircraft. 

The NASA Global Hawks are unmanned aircraft that will be piloted remotely from the HS3 mission control at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility. Global Hawk aircraft are well-suited for hurricane investigations because they can fly for as long as 26 hours and fly above hurricanes at altitudes greater than 55,000 feet.

One Global Hawk will carry three instruments to examine the environment around the storms, including the Scanning High-resolution Interferometer Sounder (S-HIS), the Advanced Vertical Atmospheric Profiling System (AVAPS), also known as dropsondes, and the Cloud Physics Lidar (CPL).

The second Global Hawk will focus on the inner region of the storms to measure wind and precipitation, surface winds, and atmospheric temperature and humidity. It will carry the High-Altitude Imaging Wind and Rain Airborne Profiler (HIWRAP) conically scanning Doppler radar, the Hurricane Imaging Radiometer (HIRAD), and the High-Altitude Monolithic Microwave Integrated Circuit Sounding Radiometer (HAMSR) microwave sounder.

The GPM mission, launched Feb. 27, will provide rainfall measurements every three hours around the globe, and will complement the HS3 mission. Like GPM's predecessor, the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission, GPM will continue to provide insights into the dynamics of a storm, such as how the storm's structure changes over the life cycle of the storm, including intensification and decay stages, and how storm intensification may depend on the presence of deep thunderstorms, known as hot towers, near the eyewall. The GPM mission will extend coverage to higher latitudes and improve scientists' ability to evaluate how storms change in intensity and structure as they move into the extra-tropics.

The ISS-RapidScat instrument, managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, is slated for launch to the International Space Station in August. RapidScat will measure ocean surface winds in Earth's tropics and mid-latitudes and will provide useful data for weather forecasting of marine storms. 

HS3’s project management is at NASA Ames Research Center, Mountain View, California - home of the Earth Science Projects Office (ESPO). Other participating NASA centers involved in the campaign include: Goddard, the Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California, Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, and JPL. 

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, and is one of five large field campaigns operating under the Earth Venture program. The HS3 mission also involves collaborations with partners including the National Centers for Environmental Prediction, Naval Postgraduate School, Naval Research Laboratory, NOAA's Hurricane Research Division and Earth System Research Laboratory, Northrop Grumman Space Technology, National Center for Atmospheric Research, State University of New York at Albany, University of Maryland - Baltimore County, University of Wisconsin, and University of Utah.

NASA monitors Earth's vital signs from land, air and space with a fleet of satellites and ambitious airborne and ground-based observation campaigns. NASA develops new ways to observe and study Earth's interconnected natural systems with long-term data records and computer analysis tools to better see how our planet is changing. The agency shares this unique knowledge with the global community and works with institutions in the United States and around the world that contribute to understanding and protecting our home planet.

For more information about NASA's Earth science activities in 2014, visit:

Related Links:

HS3 Mission -
NASA Hurricane Research -
NASA's Airborne Science Program -
GPM Mission -
Rapidscat -
GPM Flickr photos -
Globalhawk montage photos -
What is NASA's HS3 Mission? video -

Rob Gutro
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

Rob Gutro | Eurek Alert!
Further information:

Further reports about: Atlantic Earth GPM HS3 Hurricane NASA storms structure tropical winds

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Tracking down the 'missing' carbon from the Martian atmosphere
25.11.2015 | California Institute of Technology

nachricht Iowa State astronomers say comet fragments best explanation of mysterious dimming star
25.11.2015 | Iowa State University

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Climate study finds evidence of global shift in the 1980s

Planet Earth experienced a global climate shift in the late 1980s on an unprecedented scale, fuelled by anthropogenic warming and a volcanic eruption, according to new research published this week.

Scientists say that a major step change, or ‘regime shift’, in the Earth’s biophysical systems, from the upper atmosphere to the depths of the ocean and from...

Im Focus: Innovative Photovoltaics – from the Lab to the Façade

Fraunhofer ISE Demonstrates New Cell and Module Technologies on its Outer Building Façade

The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE has installed 70 photovoltaic modules on the outer façade of one of its lab buildings. The modules were...

Im Focus: Lactate for Brain Energy

Nerve cells cover their high energy demand with glucose and lactate. Scientists of the University of Zurich now provide new support for this. They show for the first time in the intact mouse brain evidence for an exchange of lactate between different brain cells. With this study they were able to confirm a 20-year old hypothesis.

In comparison to other organs, the human brain has the highest energy requirements. The supply of energy for nerve cells and the particular role of lactic acid...

Im Focus: Laser process simulation available as app for first time

In laser material processing, the simulation of processes has made great strides over the past few years. Today, the software can predict relatively well what will happen on the workpiece. Unfortunately, it is also highly complex and requires a lot of computing time. Thanks to clever simplification, experts from Fraunhofer ILT are now able to offer the first-ever simulation software that calculates processes in real time and also runs on tablet computers and smartphones. The fast software enables users to do without expensive experiments and to find optimum process parameters even more effectively.

Before now, the reliable simulation of laser processes was a job for experts. Armed with sophisticated software packages and after many hours on computer...

Im Focus: Quantum Simulation: A Better Understanding of Magnetism

Heidelberg physicists use ultracold atoms to imitate the behaviour of electrons in a solid

Researchers at Heidelberg University have devised a new way to study the phenomenon of magnetism. Using ultracold atoms at near absolute zero, they prepared a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

Fraunhofer’s Urban Futures Conference: 2 days in the city of the future

25.11.2015 | Event News

Gluten oder nicht Gluten? Überempfindlichkeit auf Weizen kann unterschiedliche Ursachen haben

17.11.2015 | Event News

Art Collection Deutsche Börse zeigt Ausstellung „Traces of Disorder“

21.10.2015 | Event News

Latest News

Using sphere packing models to explain the structure of forests

26.11.2015 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Dimensionality transition in a newly created material

26.11.2015 | Materials Sciences

Revealing glacier flow with animated satellite images

26.11.2015 | Earth Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>