Month: August 2022

a technician works with sensors on boat dock

NOAA technology used to research deep-sea volcanic and hydrothermal activity

As part of the ongoing Tonga Eruption Seabed Mapping Project, a team of scientists conducted a deep-water survey to better understand the impacts of the January 2022 Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcanic eruption on the ocean environment. The research team used a technology developed by NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Lab (PMEL) to determine the level of ongoing volcanic and hydrothermal activity within the post-eruption caldera. The Miniature Autonomous Plume Recorder (MAPR) instruments made it possible for scientists to capture direct measurements of the water column up to 300 meters deep. This is the first time that such a survey has been conducted entirely remotely, using an uncrewed surface vessel that was operated and monitored by engineers and scientists located across the globe. Learn more about this PMEL mission and NOAA’s technological innovation effort.  A SeaKit engineer on the dock in Tonga mounting the PMEL MAPRs onto a specifically designed cage to fit on the USV Maxlimer. Photo Credit: Sea-Kit International/NIWA/Nippon Foundation

Cover page of SBIR Phase II award abstract document with NOAA and DOC logo

NOAA invests $5.9M in small businesses to advance innovative technologies

The NOAA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program awarded approximately $5.9 million in Phase II SBIR grants to 12 small businesses. This seed funding will support research and development of innovative technologies in the NOAA mission space. The winning proposals represent projects across multiple research topic areas.

Depiction of several drone technologies floating together above and below the ocean surface.

NOAA uses array of marine and air uncrewed tools to improve hurricane forecast models

Throughout the 2022 hurricane season, NOAA will work with numerous partners to gather coordinated air-sea and atmospheric measurements in a hurricane from uncrewed ocean and aerial drones. NOAA will use a suite of innovative technologies to sample the ocean and atmosphere near each other in real-time and collect high-resolution data from all parts of the hurricane environment. This data could help forecasters better understand the forces that drive hurricanes so they can warn communities earlier. Technologies involved in these unprecedented sampling efforts include Saildrones and Altius-600 drones. The Saildrones involved in this research mission were specially modified to support hurricane research and developed through a CRADA partnership between NOAA and Saildrone, Inc. The Altius-600 drone was created by a small business called Area I, supported by SBIR research and development funding from the Department of Defense. The drone technology was later procured and further developed through a NOAA SBIR Phase III award. Read the full story NOAA will use several autonomous instruments this hurricane season to collect ocean and atmospheric data during during hurricanes. Credit: NOAA PMEL