Twister-Like Instruments For Hurricanes
Monday, September 29, 2008 9:15 AM
You remember those tiny instruments (with peeled Pepsi® bottles for wings*) that the kids in "Twister" sent en-masse into the tornado (via "Dorothy" which was a play on the real "TOTO" which contained no mobile instruments)? Well, NOAA and some meteorology students have a similar idea for hurricanes. There are no pop cans involved, but each tiny instrument does have a uniquely-built triangular balloon. The umbrella (pun intended) NOAA project is called the "Weather In-Situ Deployment Optimization Method" (WISDOM). Here's the press release from Miami State and some raw video of the first large launch of the instruments, which was Friday:
NOTE: VIDEO MAY HAVE ADS; VIDEOS NOT AVAILABLE ON WIRELESS DEVICES
VIDEO CAPTION: WSVN, Miami, Florida: Weather forecasters have a new tool in their efforts to track hurricanes. A demonstration launch was held in Miami, Florida Friday (09/26) of new hurricane balloons to be used for improving hurricane track and intensity forecasts. The clear, pyramid-shaped balloons test-launched by researchers and students are several feet tall and carry a palm-sized package of electronics and a transmitter that's a little bit longer than a pencil. Researchers hope that by next hurricane season, hundreds of balloons could be launched as a research flotilla sending back data when a storm threatens in the Atlantic. The launch is part of a training session for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) employees and twenty-students from Mississippi State University, University of Miami, and the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology in Barbados. The balloons won't improve forecasts right away. Experts say it will likely take several years before data from the balloons are formally part of forecast models.
Posted at Monday, September 29, 2008 9:15 AM