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Sea and air drones coordinate to get data from Hurricane Tammy

Saildrone is launching 12 drones this storm season as part of a mission of ongoing research into how and why some relatively mild tropical storms rapidly intensify into major hurricanes, which is particularly destructive when it happens just before landfall. Of all recorded weather disasters in the US, hurricanes have had the most significant impact: Between 1980 and 2021, hurricanes were responsible for over $1.1 trillion total in damages and 6,697 deaths
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Special to WGCU
Saildrone is launching 12 drones this storm season as part of a mission of ongoing research into how and why some relatively mild tropical storms rapidly intensify into major hurricanes, which is particularly destructive when it happens just before landfall. Of all recorded weather disasters in the US, hurricanes have had the most significant impact: Between 1980 and 2021, hurricanes were responsible for over $1.1 trillion total in damages and 6,697 deaths

Saildrone and NOAA released footage on Monday from Hurricane Tammy, captured near the western and southern eyewall of the storm.

Saildrone and NOAA released footage on Monday from Hurricane Tammy, captured near the western and southern eyewall of the storm.

During this storm, NOAA successfully conducted the first co-located mission into a hurricane that included a Saildrone USV and a low-flying aerial drone (Anduril’s Altius-600) deployed from a Hurricane Hunter P-3.

More on saildrones

The Altius-600 is an uncrewed aircraft system (UAS) deployed from a NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft and capable of operating in low- and medium-altitude maritime environments. Typically flying below 5,000 ft, the Altius-600 collects data to better detect changes in the storm’s overall structure.⁣

The saildrone is a solar-powered uncrewed surface vehicle (US) that provides data at and below the ocean surface. This data is used to improve the understanding and prediction of tropical cyclone intensity changes.⁣

Together, the saildrone and Altius-600 bridged the gap from satellites and aircraft to the sea surface. They allowed the collection of data nopt obtainable any other way, from the boundary layer where crewed planes and boats cannot go safely, advancing the understanding of difficult-to-predict phenomena such as Rapid Intensification.⁣

This historic collaboration required incredible coordination and signifies a giant leap forward in the mission to advance knowledge of ocean-atmosphere interactions in tropical cyclones. NOAA said it hopes to continue making progress so this kind of data collection is routine in future hurricane seasons.

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WGCU Staff