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.

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Depiction of several drone technologies floating together above and below the ocean surface.
NOAA will use several autonomous instruments this hurricane season to collect ocean and atmospheric data during during hurricanes. Credit: NOAA PMEL