Ocean Drones Sent into the Eye of the Storm Will Monitor Live Data

Ocean Drones Sent into the Eye of the Storm Will Monitor Live Data

This summer, five ocean drones will be sent into the middle of hurricanes in the Atlantic to gather real-time data from the eye of the storm.

Science & Tech

It's that time of year when coastal communities in the US, especially on the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts, brace themselves for the upcoming hurricane season. These hurricanes can cause extensive damage, not only to lives but also to the economy.

Tracking and predicting when hurricanes will hit land, and how strongly they'll do so, is crucial. It's also complex and tricky. Organizations such as the National Hurricane Center (NHC) are responsible for forecasting tropical cyclones in the Atlantic basin.

The NHC's hurricane forecast process includes using observations from satellites, reconnaissance aircraft, ships, buoys, radar, and land-based systems, among others, as the University of Rhode Island's Hurricane Science study explains. Collecting that data requires a lot of coordination, and still, predictions can fall short.

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To help this process, an ocean drone company Saildrone has partnered with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL) and Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) on a mission that will send five uncrewed surface vehicles (USVs) straight into the eye of the storm.