Velocity

2014

NovAtel's Annual Journal of GNSS Technology Solutions and Innovation

Issue link: http://velocitymagazine.epubxp.com/i/380251

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global hawk 2014 For more Solutions visit http://www.novatel.com velocity 11 "We had 12 different passes over Hurricane Karl and we were able to put together an evo- lution and time sequence of pictures of the storm intensifying." The data matters Studying hurricanes and why they evolve is challenging. While researchers have made prog- ress on accurately predicting the path of a storm, determining how intense the storm will be once it lands has proven more difficult. The two Global Hawks that are part of the HS3 mission make it possible to study the pro- cesses that lead to intense, devastating hurri- canes. These high-altitude Unmanned Aircraft Systems carry the equipment needed to study these storms and have the endurance necessary to travel to storms in the Atlantic, storms re- searchers couldn't study close up before. When the HS3 team collects the last field measurements for the mission in 2014, that data, along with what they've already collected, will lead to a better understanding of what causes storms to grow stronger and how to forecast intense, potentially devastating hurricanes well before they make landfall. The high-altitude, long endurance Global Hawks give researchers the opportunity to gather a wealth of data that will help them better understand and predict how these storms evolve. As a leader in precision GNSS technology to the unmanned industry, NovAtel's SPAN is well suited for a mission like HS3, providing re- searchers with the accurate navigational data they need to account for the plane's attitude and position. "It's very important we have good navigation data measured close to our radar," Heymsfield says. "We could do it other ways, but I think it [SPAN-SE] has been very good for us. It's been useful. It makes it easier to process the data and we understand the data better." And that data will help those in a hurri- cane's path better prepare for what's coming their way. FIgURe 2: Hurricane Isabel image taken from the MODIS instrument that fl ies aboard NASA's Aqua and Terra satellites. FIgURe 3: A satellite photo of Tropical Storm Frank, taken on Aug. 28, 2010. It was located in the Pacifi c off the Baja, Calif. coast. FIgURe 4: An image taken from a NASA Global Hawk as it fl ew over Tropical Storm Frank, a very weak storm. Predicting intensity Field measurements gathered during the HS3 mission will help forecasters not only predict where a hurricane will go, but how strong it will be once it makes landfall. Knowing that can potentially save lives and reduce damage. The scale of categories is called the Saff r-Simpson Hurricane Scale, according to NASA, and the categories are based on wind speed. Here are the categories: Category 1: Winds 119-153 km/hr (74-95 mph) Category 2: Winds 154-177 km/hr (96-110 mph) Category 3: Winds 178-209 km/hr (111-130 mph) Category 4: Winds 210-249 km/hr (131-155 mph) Category 5: Winds more than 259 km/hr (155 mph) Isabel image courtesy of NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team; Global Hawk image courtesy of NASA. Hurrican Frank images courtesy of NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center.

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