In partnership with NOAA, Saildrone Inc. is deploying seven ocean drones to collect data from hurricanes during the 2022 hurricane season with the goal of improving hurricane forecasting. For the first year, two saildrones will track hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico. One of the biggest challenges to hurricane forecasting is predicting rapid intensification, when hurricane wind speeds increase at least 35 mph over a 24 hour period. To fully understand how storms intensify, scientists collect data on the exchange of energy between the ocean and atmosphere in the forms of heat and momentum. However, gathering data in this dangerous environment is best accomplished by uncrewed systems. Five saildrones supported by NOAA’s Uncrewed Systems Operations Center and NOAA’s Weather Program Office will operate in the western Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea in areas frequented by tropical storms and hurricanes. Another two saildrones will operate in the Gulf of Mexico, supported by NOAA’s Global Ocean Monitoring and Observing Program.
Excerpts taken from article originally published on the NOAA Research website.