Georgia scientists using robots to improve hurricane forecasts

Georgia scientists using robots to improve hurricane forecasts

A team of scientists is using robots dozens of miles off Georgia’s coast to improve hurricane forecasts.”So what we’re doing today is deploying a glider, an underwater robot, near where we have deployed a robotic surface vehicle that’s collecting meteorological data,” said Catherine Edwards, an Associate Professor at the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography. Edwards told WJCL that while the weather community is skilled at predicting where and when a hurricane will make landfall, they’ve struggled to predict how intense a hurricane will be.”Think back to Hurricane Michael back in where you might have gone to bed and it’s a category 1, and you wake up the next day it’s a category 4. That’s terrifying,” Edwards said. Edwards said incorrect intensity forecasts can result in diminished public trust. “You might not trust the forecast as much the next time around, you might be less likely to evacuate if the storm is weaker than forecasted,” Edwards said. That’s where the robots come in. A torpedo-shaped robot called a glider moves up and down in the water and measures things like temperature and salinity. That data is transmitted back to shore every few hours.”The glider calls back to shore when it surfaces every 4 to 6 hours and one of our science team members monitors the call and we can get a subset of the data collected by the gliders, ” Edwards said. The gliders are piloted by technicians at the University of Georgia Skidaway Institute and other partner institutions. Scientists are also using a robot called a sail drone. Saildrones are uncrewed surface vehicles powered by wind and solar energy. They are remotely piloted via satellite telecommunication.”The sail drone measures the temperature and humidity, but it also measures how much energy is coming into the ocean from the atmosphere,” Edwards said.Together, these instruments give scientists a powerful data set to help them improve the hurricane forecast as they help scientists understand where and how heat and energy are exchanged between the ocean and the atmosphere.”Its tools like this that have already been shown to improve our forecasting ability,” Edwards said. We’re told paired teams of gliders and sail drones will operate not only in the Atlantic Ocean but also in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico.

A team of scientists is using robots dozens of miles off Georgia’s coast to improve hurricane forecasts.

“So what we’re doing today is deploying a glider, an underwater robot, near where we have deployed a robotic surface vehicle that’s collecting meteorological data,” said Catherine Edwards, an Associate Professor at the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography.

Edwards told WJCL that while the weather community is skilled at predicting where and when a hurricane will make landfall, they’ve struggled to predict how intense a hurricane will be.

“Think back to Hurricane Michael back in [2018] where you might have gone to bed and it’s a category 1, and you wake up the next day it’s a category 4. That’s terrifying,” Edwards said.

Edwards said incorrect intensity forecasts can result in diminished public trust.

“You might not trust the forecast as much the next time around, you might be less likely to evacuate if the storm is weaker than forecasted,” Edwards said.

That’s where the robots come in.

A torpedo-shaped robot called a glider moves up and down in the water and measures things like temperature and salinity. That data is transmitted back to shore every few hours.

“The glider calls back to shore when it surfaces every 4 to 6 hours and one of our science team members monitors the call and we can get a subset of the data collected by the gliders,” Edwards said.

The gliders are piloted by technicians at the University of Georgia Skidaway Institute and other partner institutions.

Scientists are also using a robot called a sail drone.

Saildrones are uncrewed surface vehicles powered by wind and solar energy. They are remotely piloted via satellite telecommunication.

“The sail drone measures the temperature and humidity, but it also measures how much energy is coming into the ocean from the atmosphere,” Edwards said.

Together, these instruments give scientists a powerful data set to help them improve the hurricane forecast as they help scientists understand where and how heat and energy are exchanged between the ocean and the atmosphere.

“Its tools like this that have already been shown to improve our forecasting ability,” Edwards said.

We’re told paired teams of gliders and sail drones will operate not only in the Atlantic Ocean but also in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico.

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