On September 22-23, scientists with AOML’s Hurricane Research Division collected unique data from six Coyote UAS (unmanned aircraft system) launched from NOAA’s P3 Hurricane Hunter aircraft into Hurricane Maria. The Coyote UAS gathered atmospheric, temperature, pressure, and moisture data in Maria’s eye and eyewall at altitudes as low as 300 feet above the ocean surface. The P3 performed complementary eye/eyewall patterns that coincided with the Coyote UAS track and position. Data from the Coyote UAS were transmitted in real time to NOAA’s National Hurricane Center and were used by the forecasters. The Coyote UAS missions provide researchers with the opportunity to better understand processes occurring in the lowest reaches of the hurricane environment. Turbulent exchanges of heat, moisture, and momentum in the lowest portions of the hurricane boundary layer occur regularly but are rarely, if ever, observed. Here’s a picture of Lead project scientist, Joe Cione launching the Coyote from inside the P3 during Hurricane Maria.