Observing And Forecasting Hurricanes


Observing and forecasting hurricanes pose a particular challenge, as they are not only a dangerous oceanic phenomenon, but the present weather stations rarely exist on the site of the storm. Moreover, these weather stations are still relatively sparse.


Hurricanes - observing and forecasting

Observing hurricanes from the surface is possible if the storm is moving over an island or a coastal area, or if a ship happens to be nearby. Generally, real-time measurements are taken in the border line of the cyclone, where the conditions are less disastrous. Therefore, it is difficult to evaluate the true strength of the hurricane. The teams of meteorologists move into the course to observe hurricanes.


Hurricanes which are far from land are followed by weather satellites, which capture visible and infrared images from space. This is useful for observing and forecasting hurricanes. Land-based Doppler radar is used for observing hurricanes as it nears the land. This radar plays an important role around landfall by observing hurricanes as it shows a storm's position and strength every several minutes.


Specially prepared reconnaissance flights are sent into the cyclone in real-time. Flying straight into the cyclone, these take direct and remote-sensing measurements. They also initiate GPS dropsondes inside the cyclone, which are used for measuring temperature, humidity, pressure, and especially winds between flight level and the ocean's surface.

 A new age in hurricane observation began when a remotely piloted small drone aircraft, were flown through Tropical Storm. Similar mission were also completed with success for observing hurricanes. Forecasting hurricanes precisely depend on finding the position and strength of high- and low-pressure areas. And then foreseeing how those areas will change during the life of a tropical system. To determine track direction and speed of the hurricane, the deep layer mean flow, or average wind through the depth of the troposphere, is considered the best tool.


With sheared storms, wind speed measurements at a lower altitude will result in better forecasting of hurricanes. Today, high-speed computers and sophisticated simulation software allow the scientists for producing computer models that help in observing and forecasting hurricanes based on the potential position and strength of high- and low-pressure systems. With an increased understanding of the natural forces, along with the forecast model, as well as with the valuable data collected from orbiting satellites and other sensors have no doubt increased the accuracy of observing and forecasting hurricanes.


However, scientists are not that apt to forecast hurricanes and evaluate the intensity of tropical cyclones, as the complexity of tropical systems and a partial understanding of factors affecting their development stand in the way.