Hurricane observations
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HURRICANE OBSERVATIONS. Dr. Richard M. Yablonsky (URI/GSO) HSS Teacher’s Institute Presentation URI Coastal Institute, Narragansett, RI Tuesday, 27 July 2010 at 10:00 AM. Hurricane Forecasting. Numerical Modeling. Dissemination. Data Acquisition And Processing. Warnings Operations.

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Hurricane observations


Dr. Richard M. Yablonsky (URI/GSO)

HSS Teacher’s Institute Presentation

URI Coastal Institute, Narragansett, RI

Tuesday, 27 July 2010 at 10:00 AM

Hurricane forecasting

Hurricane Forecasting




Data Acquisition

And Processing




Observational tools

Before we can predict what a storm will do in the future, we need to know what the storm, the atmosphere, and the ocean look like right now!

Radiosondes: Instruments attached to weather balloons that transmit temperature, humidity, & wind data back to the ground. These balloons are launched globally twice a day.

Aircraft:Commercial aircraft regularly report weather data. NOAA “Hurricane Hunter” aircraft penetrate hurricanes to gather valuable data on the storm.

Satellites:Gather data on clouds, water vapor, and land & sea surface temperatures.

Observational Tools

Surface:Thousands of weather stations across the globe report weather conditions every hour.

View from a Hurricane Hunter aircraft inside the eye of category 5 Hurricane Isabel

Two NOAA P3 “Hurricane Hunter” aircraft

Weather satellite

Hurricane observations

Hurricane Ivan on September 9, 2004

A thunderstorm in one

of Ivan’s spiral bands

~ 250 miles

Image courtesy of NOAA/

Geostationary satellite

Geostationary Satellite

Goes west


Goes east


Goes east with floyd 1999

GOES East with Floyd (1999)

Hurricane observations

Hurricane Frances (2004)

Image courtesy of CIMMS / Univ of Wisconsin

National hurricane center miami fl

National Hurricane Center(Miami, FL)

Hurricane observations

Polar Orbiting Satellite

Hurricane observations

Polar Orbiting Satellite

Isabel 2003 from noaa 15 polar orbiting satellite

Isabel (2003) from NOAA-15 Polar Orbiting Satellite

Hurricane observations

Ocean’s Role in Hurricane Intensity

Satellite Infrared Image of Sea Surface Temperature Hurricane Gert (1999)

Ocean surface winds from quikscat

Ocean Surface Winds from QuikSCAT

Surface wind speeds from ascat

Surface Wind Speeds from ASCAT

Rita 2005 rain rate from trmm

Rita (2005) Rain Rate from TRMM

Annual lightning from trmm

Annual Lightning from TRMM

Us air force s wc 130j hurricane hunters

US Air Force’s WC-130J:“Hurricane Hunters”

Ike 2008 eye from hurricane hunter aircraft

Ike (2008) Eye from Hurricane Hunter Aircraft

Noaa s wp 3d orion p 3

NOAA’s WP-3D Orion (“P-3”)

Katrina 2005 eye from noaa p 3 aircraft

Katrina (2005) Eyefrom NOAA P-3 Aircraft

Noaa s gulfstream iv

NOAA’s Gulfstream IV

Dropwindsonde instrument

Dropwindsonde Instrument

“Pringles cans with microprocessors and parachutes”

Airborne expendable bathytheromograph axbt

Airborne eXpendable BathyTheromograph (AXBT)

Us navy s mv cape vincent part of voluntary observing ship vos program

US Navy’s MV Cape Vincent:Part of Voluntary Observing Ship (VOS) Program

Ship based xbt temperature profile

Ship-based XBT / Temperature Profile

Noaa buoy 41010 recorded 82 mph wind during floyd 1999

NOAA Buoy 41010:Recorded 82 mph wind during Floyd (1999)

Noaa buoy 42003 in katrina 2005

NOAA Buoy 42003 in Katrina (2005)

Dominant Wave Period



Significant Wave Height

Doppler radar

Doppler Radar

Doppler radar reflectivity

Doppler Radar Reflectivity

Doppler radar radial velocity

Doppler Radar Radial Velocity

Charley 2004 doppler radar reflectivity and radial velocity

Charley (2004): Doppler Radar Reflectivity and Radial Velocity



Radiosondes rawinsondes weather balloons

Radiosondes & Rawinsondes: Weather Balloons

Global radiosonde network

Global Radiosonde Network

Ground based weather stations asos awos weatherflow mobile etc

Ground-based weather stations:ASOS/AWOS, WeatherFlow, Mobile, Etc.

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