SHOUT 2016 Hurricane Rapid Response Launches 3rd Science Flight Over TD 8 & TD 9
NASA/NOAA Global Hawk concludes 24 hour mission after dropping a record 90 sondes supplying real-time data to the National Hurricane Center.
The NOAA Sensing Hazards with Operational Unmanned Technology (SHOUT) flew the NASA Global Hawk unmanned aircraft taking off the evening of August 29th from NASA Wallops Flight Center over two tropical depressions threatening to make U. S. landfall within the next 24-48 hours. The aircraft flew flight track southward over Tropical Depression Eight (TD-8) off Cape Hatteras and then southwestward to TD-9 southwest of the Florida Keys as shown in the above image superimposed upon a NOAA GOES East visible satellite image, which also shows Hurricane GASTON East of Bermuda, flown by 24-hour Global Hawk missions on 24-25 Aug and 27-28 Aug.
The SHOUT Team flying the NASA Global Hawk concluded the 23.8 hour mission at 1800 EDT August 30th after dropping a record 90 sondes into TD 8 & 9 in close coordination with the National Hurricane Center (NHC). Once again, this real-time data influenced the NHC’s forecast and was mentioned in the Tropic Weather Discussion:
TROPICAL DEPRESSION NINE DISCUSSION NUMBER 7
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL092016
400 AM CDT TUE AUG 30 2016
"Although there has been an increase in convection over the southeastern portion of the depression’s circulation, the system is still being affected by westerly shear, with the low-level center exposed to the west of the deep convection. Recent observations from a NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft and the unmanned NASA Global Hawk indicate that the tropical cyclone remains just below tropical storm strength. The NOAA aircraft has reported peak flight level winds in the southeastern quadrant of 32 kt, and believable SFMR winds of around 30 kt. A dropsonde from the Global Hawk reported 33 kt surface winds, but the mean-layer wind over the lowest 150 m support winds closer to 30 kt. A very recent center drop from the unmanned aircraft indicate that the minimum pressure is 1003 mb." Forecaster Brown
SHOUT’s Co-PI, Jason Dunion, coordinated with the NHC throughout the mission, optimizing the flight pattern designs to capture both atmospheric events. "This was a great demonstration of man and unmanned aircraft teaming as the NOAA WP-3 was flying TD-9 and providing data at the same time," says Dunion. "More good things will follow."
The National Center for Atmospheric Research’s Airborne Vertical Atmospheric Profiling System’s (AVAPS) operated flawlessly throughout this record setting mission. AVAPS PI, Terry Hock, was present as the final dropsondes were being launched. The operational capabilities of this system continue to grow as the SHOUT Team takes advantage of the successes achieved during NASA’s Hurricane and Severe Storm Sentinel (HS3) moving closer to AVAPS’ standard operations from unmanned aircraft.
John "JC" Coffey