Ocean drone intercepts Cat 4 hurricane for 1st time
PINE BELT, Miss. (WDAM) - For the first time, an ocean drone has intercepted a hurricane to retrieve data from the storm.
The watercraft is called Sail Drone, and they are created by U.S. Business Sail Drone which is located in Alameda, Calif..
These drones are created to collect the highest resolution ocean data and research it to understand how it influences our everyday weather.
“It’s critical in understanding the intensification of hurricanes,” said Andy Ziegwied, Sail Drone’s vice president of ocean data.. “So, they are sailing and collecting data before, during and after the hurricane passes. The real-time in-situ data about the heat transfer between the ocean and the atmosphere inside the eye of the hurricanes will help the National Weather Service to improve hurricane forecasting.
Ziegwied said the main goal of the drones is to gain knowledge of which tropical storms could become severe hurricanes before or as they hit coastal communities. He adds knowing this data could help those living along the coastline prepare quicker and evacuate before the storm hits.
“We learn a lot about the sailing ability crossing the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Operating in the Gulf Stream with high currents, high winds, and storm surges.“ Ziegwied said.
Recently, the company made headlines after intercepting a Category 4 storm, Hurricane Sam.
But before the drone could fulfill the mission, it had to undergo an upgrade to withstand hurricane impacts.
“We made a modified wing,” Ziegwied said. “It’s what we call a hurricane wing. We launched five sail drones with these modified wings to see if they could stand the elements and bring back the data. "
The drones did retrieve data from Hurricane Sam, data that was sent to partner organizations like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Weather Service.
The next mission is to send Sail Drones into the Gulf Stream.
For more information on the incredible feat you can go over to https://www.saildrone.com/press-release/ocean-drone-captures-video-inside-category-4-hurricane
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