S148 Visualization of NOAA Aircraft Data for Hurricane Irma using ArcGIS

Sunday, 6 January 2019
Hall 4 (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Sofia de Solo, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, FL; and J. Zawislak, H. Holbach, and I. Sears

For the past four decades, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Hurricane Hunters have been collecting unique data with their WP-3D and G-IV aircraft in tropical storms and hurricanes through a close collaboration between the AOML/Hurricane Research Division (HRD), OMAO/Aircraft Operations Center (AOC), NWS/National Hurricane Center (NHC) and NWS/NCEP/Environmental Modeling Center (EMC). Data from these flights have contributed to advancements in the monitoring and forecasting of hurricanes, assessment of their risks, and a greater understanding of their underlying processes. However, there has been considerably less effort towards customizing datasets for education and outreach to the public in a way that is visually engaging.

This project will take historical information from Hurricane Irma (2017) to create an interactive display that highlights the data from the NOAA WP-3D and G-IV aircraft. Visualizations include data from the aircraft’s Stepped-Frequency Microwave Radiometer (SFMR), which measures surface wind speeds, sea surface temperature, as well as rain rates along the flight’s path. Other features include imagery/videos of the radars and data collected by dropwindsondes. These will be displayed spatially, with interactive features and descriptors to better depict the progression of the storm and data collection efforts. This will be accomplished through leveraging advancements in visualization software and techniques, such as ArcGIS.

The goal of this project is to preserve the legacy of decades of invaluable aircraft data collected in tropical cyclones by increasing their exposure. These visualizations will modernize and enhance outreach materials, including media targeted at educators and students, which in turn will be used to inform the public about the NOAA Hurricane Hunter mission and teach students fundamental tropical cyclone concepts.

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