Inside The U.S. Hurricane Research Division | NBC News Now


THAT’S WHERE NOAA COMES IN. WE GET AN INSIDE LOOK AT HOW WE GET AN INSIDE LOOK AT HOW SCIENTISTS ARE TRYING TO IMPROVE SCIENTISTS ARE TRYING TO IMPROVE HURRICANE FORECASTING. HURRICANE FORECASTING. ♪ ♪>>>THE TECH BEHIND SELF-DRIVING>>>THE TECH BEHIND SELF-DRIVING CARS AND UNMANNED DRONES ISN’T CARS AND UNMANNED DRONES ISN’T JUST HELPING US GET AROUND, IT’S JUST HELPING US GET AROUND, IT’S ALSO TEACHING US MORE ABOUT BIG ALSO TEACHING US MORE ABOUT BIG WEATHER EVENTS BECAUSE THERE’S WEATHER EVENTS BECAUSE THERE’S STILL A LOT WE DON’T KNOW ABOUT STILL A LOT WE DON’T KNOW ABOUT HURRICANES. HURRICANES.>>WE’RE STILL ASKING SIMPLE>>WE’RE STILL ASKING SIMPLE QUESTIONS ABOUT HOW HURRICANES QUESTIONS ABOUT HOW HURRICANES FORM, HOW THEY INTENSIFY, HOW FORM, HOW THEY INTENSIFY, HOW THEY RAPIDLY INTENSIFY WHERE THE THEY RAPIDLY INTENSIFY WHERE THE STORM WILL INCREASE IN STRENGTH STORM WILL INCREASE IN STRENGTH VERY QUICKLY OVER A 24-HOUR VERY QUICKLY OVER A 24-HOUR PERIOD. PERIOD.>>WE’RE ON VIRGINIA KEY.>>WE’RE ON VIRGINIA KEY. SCIENTISTS ARE COMING UP WITH SCIENTISTS ARE COMING UP WITH NEW QUESTIONS TO BETTER NEW QUESTIONS TO BETTER UNDERSTAND MAJOR STORMS. UNDERSTAND MAJOR STORMS. THIS IS WHERE THEY BUILD THE THIS IS WHERE THEY BUILD THE TOOLS TO ANSWER THEM. TOOLS TO ANSWER THEM.>>SO OUR RESEARCH IS REALLY>>SO OUR RESEARCH IS REALLY AROUND NOT ONLY UNDERSTANDING AROUND NOT ONLY UNDERSTANDING THE PROCESSES BUT DRIVING THE THE PROCESSES BUT DRIVING THE MODEL DEVELOPMENT SO THAT WE’RE MODEL DEVELOPMENT SO THAT WE’RE LOOKING AT POTENTIAL STORM LOOKING AT POTENTIAL STORM IMPACT MORE DAYS IN ADVANCE IMPACT MORE DAYS IN ADVANCE WHICH WILL HELP THE NATIONAL WHICH WILL HELP THE NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER BE ABLE TO GET HURRICANE CENTER BE ABLE TO GET THOSE WATCHES AND WARNINGS OUT THOSE WATCHES AND WARNINGS OUT SOONER, GET THE ADVISORIES OUT SOONER, GET THE ADVISORIES OUT SOONER. SOONER.>>WHAT WE DON’T KNOW CAN HURT>>WHAT WE DON’T KNOW CAN HURT US AND POTENTIALLY LEAD TO US AND POTENTIALLY LEAD TO BILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN PROPERTY BILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN PROPERTY DAMAGE AND LIVES LOST. DAMAGE AND LIVES LOST. SO WHAT ARE THE BIG QUESTIONS SO WHAT ARE THE BIG QUESTIONS ABOUT THESE STORMS THAT KEEP ABOUT THESE STORMS THAT KEEP SCIENTISTS UP AT NIGHT? SCIENTISTS UP AT NIGHT?>>SO OUR PRIORITY THIS SEASON>>SO OUR PRIORITY THIS SEASON IS TO LOOK AT, A, HURRICANE IS TO LOOK AT, A, HURRICANE FORMATION, HOW DO THEY FORM. FORMATION, HOW DO THEY FORM. WE REALLY HAVE NOT HAD A LOT OF WE REALLY HAVE NOT HAD A LOT OF FOCUS IN THE AIRCRAFT FOCUS IN THE AIRCRAFT OBSERVATIONS ON HURRICANE OBSERVATIONS ON HURRICANE FORMATIONS. FORMATIONS. IT’S CHALLENGE TO GET THE IT’S CHALLENGE TO GET THE AIRPLANE INTO THOSE SITUATIONS AIRPLANE INTO THOSE SITUATIONS BECAUSE YOU HAVE TO BE ABLE TO BECAUSE YOU HAVE TO BE ABLE TO FORECAST THE HURRICANE FORECAST THE HURRICANE FORMATION. FORMATION. THAT’S THE CHALLENGE IN ITSELF. THAT’S THE CHALLENGE IN ITSELF. WE’RE FOCUSED ON GETTING THE WE’RE FOCUSED ON GETTING THE AIRPLANE OUT EARLIER INTO AIRPLANE OUT EARLIER INTO STORMS, NOT ONLY THE FORMATION STORMS, NOT ONLY THE FORMATION OF THE STORM BUT A TROPICAL OF THE STORM BUT A TROPICAL DEPRESSION, A TROPICAL STORM. DEPRESSION, A TROPICAL STORM.>>THEY’RE NOT JUST COLLECTING>>THEY’RE NOT JUST COLLECTING THE DATA, THEY’RE WORKING TO THE DATA, THEY’RE WORKING TO LEARN WHAT DATA MATTERS AND WHY. LEARN WHAT DATA MATTERS AND WHY. THAT’S WHERE LISA COMES IN. THAT’S WHERE LISA COMES IN.>>IT’S RELEASED FROM THE BOTTOM>>IT’S RELEASED FROM THE BOTTOM OF A PLANE. OF A PLANE. WHEN IT’S DEPLOYED, INSIDE WE WHEN IT’S DEPLOYED, INSIDE WE HAVE A LOT OF INSTRUMENTS. HAVE A LOT OF INSTRUMENTS. SO THERE IS THIS STUDY OF THE SO THERE IS THIS STUDY OF THE WIND, THE TEMPERATURE, THE WIND, THE TEMPERATURE, THE MOISTURE. MOISTURE. ALL OF THAT INFORMATION IS ALL OF THAT INFORMATION IS TRANSMITTED BACK TO THE PLANE. TRANSMITTED BACK TO THE PLANE. WE SEND IT OUT TO THE WE SEND IT OUT TO THE FORECASTERS AND THE MODELERS SO FORECASTERS AND THE MODELERS SO THEY CAN HAVE A PICTURE OF THEY CAN HAVE A PICTURE OF WHAT’S HAPPENING CURRENTLY IN WHAT’S HAPPENING CURRENTLY IN THE STORM. THE STORM.>>RIGHT NOW LISA AND HER TEAM>>RIGHT NOW LISA AND HER TEAM ARE TRYING TO PAINT A BETTER 3D ARE TRYING TO PAINT A BETTER 3D PICTURE OF STORMS. PICTURE OF STORMS. MUCH OF WHAT WE CAN SEE OF A MUCH OF WHAT WE CAN SEE OF A STORM IS RADAR PICTURE AND THAT STORM IS RADAR PICTURE AND THAT ONLY SHOWS US WHERE IT’S ONLY SHOWS US WHERE IT’S RAINING. RAINING. BUT THAT’S NOT WHERE THE STORM BUT THAT’S NOT WHERE THE STORM STOPS. STOPS. THE HR D IS WORKING TO DEPLOY THE HR D IS WORKING TO DEPLOY LIDAR TO DETECT ALL OF THE LIDAR TO DETECT ALL OF THE PARTICLES AND PAINT A REAL 3D PARTICLES AND PAINT A REAL 3D PICTURE OF STORM DYNAMICS. PICTURE OF STORM DYNAMICS.>>THERE’S ACTUALLY QUITE A BIT>>THERE’S ACTUALLY QUITE A BIT OF AREA THAT IT ISN’T RAINING IN OF AREA THAT IT ISN’T RAINING IN A HURRICANE. A HURRICANE. THERE’S A LOT OF OPEN AIR IN THERE’S A LOT OF OPEN AIR IN THERE. THERE.>>AND THE RAIN GAPS, THOSE ARE>>AND THE RAIN GAPS, THOSE ARE THE AREAS THAT DON’T SHOW UP THE AREAS THAT DON’T SHOW UP ON — ON –>>ON THE RADAR.>>ON THE RADAR.>>YEAH.>>YEAH. SO IT’S HARDER TO UNDERSTAND SO IT’S HARDER TO UNDERSTAND THOSE AREAS. THOSE AREAS.>>RIGHT.>>RIGHT. BEFORE THE LIDAR WE WOULD DROP BEFORE THE LIDAR WE WOULD DROP THESE TO MEASURE THEM. THESE TO MEASURE THEM. NOW THAT WE DO HAVE THE LIDAR ON NOW THAT WE DO HAVE THE LIDAR ON ONE OF THE PLANES, WE’RE ABLE TO ONE OF THE PLANES, WE’RE ABLE TO GET THAT INFORMATION IN AREAS GET THAT INFORMATION IN AREAS THAT WE COULDN’T PREVIOUSLY. THAT WE COULDN’T PREVIOUSLY.>>THE HOPE IS TO FIGURE OUT HOW>>THE HOPE IS TO FIGURE OUT HOW HURRICANES GATHER ENERGY FROM HURRICANES GATHER ENERGY FROM THE OCEAN. THE OCEAN.>>THE OCEAN PLAYS A BIG ROLE.>>THE OCEAN PLAYS A BIG ROLE. WE KNOW THAT THE OCEAN DRIVES WE KNOW THAT THE OCEAN DRIVES HURRICANES, BUT THE ATMOSPHERE HURRICANES, BUT THE ATMOSPHERE ALSO HAD A BIG ROLE IN TERMS OF ALSO HAD A BIG ROLE IN TERMS OF DRIVING THESE INTENTIONIFICATION DRIVING THESE INTENTIONIFICATION PROCESSES. PROCESSES. WE’RE LOOKING AT THESE EXTERNAL WE’RE LOOKING AT THESE EXTERNAL FACTORS IN ADDITION TO THE OCEAN FACTORS IN ADDITION TO THE OCEAN COMPONENT THAT DRIVES THESE COMPONENT THAT DRIVES THESE RAPID INTENSIFICATIONS. RAPID INTENSIFICATIONS.>>THERE’S A ROT WE DON’T LOT WE>>THERE’S A ROT WE DON’T LOT WE HURRICANES ARE A PRETTY RARE HURRICANES ARE A PRETTY RARE PHENOMENA. PHENOMENA. WE ONLY GET TO MEASURE 5-8 A WE ONLY GET TO MEASURE 5-8 A YEAR. YEAR. IT’S JUST BABY STEPS EACH YEAR. IT’S JUST BABY STEPS EACH YEAR. I THINK IT WILL BE A FEW MORE

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