top of page
  • tech360.tv

Ocean Drones Unveil the Secrets of Hurricane Intensification

Saildrones are being used to track and gather data on hurricane intensification. Hurricane Otis, a category five hurricane, highlights the need to understand rapid intensification. Climate change is causing hurricanes to become more powerful.

Sail drones
Credit: Saildrone

Hurricane Otis, a category five hurricane that recently struck southern Mexico, serves as a stark reminder of the destructive force of these weather phenomena. With the increasing impact of climate change, it is imperative to uncover the factors behind rapid intensification. The collaboration between the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Saildrone, a leading data company, is shedding light on the mysteries of hurricane development.


Hurricane Otis made landfall on the coast of southern Mexico, leaving a trail of devastation in its wake. With winds reaching 165mph (270km/h), the storm caused widespread damage and claimed the lives of 27 people. NOAA described Otis as a "life-threatening storm surge" that brought destructive winds, heavy rainfall, and the potential for flash flooding and mudslides. This unprecedented intensity for the region highlights the urgent need to understand the factors driving such rapid intensification.


Climate change is causing hurricanes to become more powerful, with a projected increase in the proportion of category four and five storms. Rising ocean temperatures are fueling the transformation of tropical storms into powerful hurricanes within a single day. To unravel the complexities of this process, scientists are turning to saildrones.


Saildrone, a company specialising in seafaring drones, has partnered with NOAA to deploy instruments capable of withstanding the extreme conditions of developing hurricanes. These saildrones are equipped with sensors to collect data on oceanic and atmospheric conditions. The gathered information is then analysed by NOAA scientists to gain insights into the intensification process.


These wind-propelled saildrones resemble sailboats and come in various sizes. Ranging from 23ft (7m) to 65ft (20m) in length, they combine wind propulsion with solar-powered sensors to measure a hurricane's track and changes in intensity over time. Additionally, the drones can capture data beneath the waves, providing a comprehensive understanding of the air and water column.


The mission of Saildrone and NOAA is not only to predict hurricanes in the current season but also to improve hurricane modeling for the future. By studying the exchange of heat and momentum between the ocean and hurricanes, scientists aim to develop more accurate computer models for predicting the path and intensity of these storms. This information is crucial for communities to prepare and make informed decisions regarding evacuation.


Rapid intensification, where a storm gains 35 knots of wind speed or more within 24 hours, poses a significant threat. Communities are often caught off guard, as they prepare for a tropical storm only to face a category five hurricane. Saildrones provide valuable data to enhance our understanding of this rapid intensification process, enabling better preparation and response strategies.


The endurance of saildrones is remarkable, with some staying at sea for over a year. This extended duration surpasses that of crewed vessels reliant on fossil fuels. The saildrones' reliance on renewable energy for propulsion allows them to gather data for extended periods, providing valuable insights into hurricane behavior.


While satellite images offer a glimpse into hurricane formation, saildrones provide crucial information on the strength and intensity of these storms. They offer a cost-effective and safe means of collecting data without risking human lives. The collaboration between NOAA and Saildrone is a significant step forward in our quest to understand and predict hurricanes accurately.

 
  • Saildrones are being used to track and gather data on hurricane intensification.

  • Hurricane Otis, a category five hurricane, highlights the need to understand rapid intensification.

  • Climate change is causing hurricanes to become more powerful.


Source: BBC

As technology advances and has a greater impact on our lives than ever before, being informed is the only way to keep up.  Through our product reviews and news articles, we want to be able to aid our readers in doing so. All of our reviews are carefully written, offer unique insights and critiques, and provide trustworthy recommendations. Our news stories are sourced from trustworthy sources, fact-checked by our team, and presented with the help of AI to make them easier to comprehend for our readers. If you notice any errors in our product reviews or news stories, please email us at editorial@tech360.tv.  Your input will be important in ensuring that our articles are accurate for all of our readers.

bottom of page