2016 Hurricane Season ends

Brad Klotz celebrates the end of missions into Hurricane Matthew
Brad Klotz celebrates the end of missions into Hurricane Matthew

Today marks the last day of the 2016 Atlantic hurricane season, and it was a busy one for us.  AOML’s Hurricane Research Division (HRD) participated in 57 missions into six different tropical cyclones: Colin, Earl, Javier (East Pacific), Hermine, Karl, and Matthew.  From early June to the start of October, HRD personnel either flew on-board research flights or processed data on the ground in real time from these missions.  Here is a break down of the sorties by aircraft platform:

  • P-3                  32 missions
  • G-IV                17 missions
  • Global Hawk   8 missions

NOAA launched over 1000 dropsondes in and around storms this season, a massive deployment executed through the Intensity Forecasting EXperiment (IFEX), conducted in collaboration with NOAA’s Environmental Modeling Center and National Hurricane Center, and the Sensing Hazards with Operational Unmanned Technology (SHOUT) campaign in cooperation with NASA and NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory.

Some highlights from this season’s efforts:

  • Testing and development of new observing technologies including Doppler Wind Lidar data gathered in Earl and Javier.
  • Prolonged genesis and intensification of Hermine was observed.  Hermine was the first land-falling hurricane in Florida since Wilma (2005).
  • A  unique data set was collected during the extratropical transition of Karl.  This was the first storm flown from cyclogenesis to extratropical transition.
  • Hurricane Matthew was the first category-5 hurricane in Atlantic basin since Felix (2007).

The various data sets gathered this year will be studied extensively to look for possible relationships between rainfall patterns and storm intensity changes.  The dropsondes and Doppler radar data collected in conjunction will help improve the new generation of computer simulations that model the inner workings of the hurricane vortex.  This will help improve the forecasting of intensity change, a central goal of HRD.


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