Patch for the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron of the US Air Force.
U.S. Air Force
Chasing the Storm
The official "Hurricane Hunters" are the Air Force Reserve's 53rd Weather
Reconnaissance Squadron. They fly through the eyes of hurricanes and
record information. The information helps the National Hurricane Center
meteorologists improve the forecasts
by up to
30%. How does this happen?
For each mission, the Hurricane Hunters fly through the eye
of a hurricane
multiple times. They pin-point the center of the hurricane and whether
the hurricane is strengthening or weakening. Also, instruments on the
plane continually record the wind speed and direction. This information
helps when forecasting the hurricane's track
. The more
accuate the forecast is, the less coastline will need to be evacuated. It
costs about $1 million per mile to evacuate, so the information provided
by the Hurricane Hunters is very valuable.
Another group which routinely flies into hurricanes is the Hurricane
Research Division (HRD) of the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meterological
Laboratory (AOML), which itself is part of the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). **whew** The HRD aircraft mainly focus
on hurricane research, though some of the wind data collected is used to
improve track forecasts.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
The Fall 2009 issue of The Earth Scientist
, which includes articles on student research into building design for earthquakes and a classroom lab on the composition of the Earth’s ancient atmosphere, is available in our online store
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