5A.7 Sensing Hazards with Operational Unmanned Technology: NOAA's multi-year plan to deploy the NASA Global Hawk aircraft for high impact weather

Tuesday, 1 April 2014: 9:30 AM
Garden Ballroom (Town and Country Resort )
Michael Black, NOAA/AOML/HRD, Miami, FL; and G. A. Wick and R. E. Hood

Beginning in 2010, the NOAA Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Program has been involved in field campaigns with the NASA Global Hawk (GH) unmanned aircraft, either in partnership with NASA experiments (Genesis and Rapid Intensification Processes, 2010 and the Hurricane and Severe Storm Sentinel project, HS3, 2012-2014) or as a NOAA-led Winter Storms and Pacific Atmospheric Rivers (WISPAR) experiment in 2011. The NOAA UAS program partnered with the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in the design, fabrication, testing, deploying, and maintenance of an Airborne Vertical Atmospheric Profiling System (AVAPS) for the NASA GH unmanned aircraft, more commonly referred to as the GH dropsonde system. To date, over 1,000 dropsondes have been deployed from the GH and NOAA developed and implemented procedures to quality control the data in near real time and to disseminate products from the dropsonde data for use by forecasters, scientists and for data assimilation into research and operational numerical weather prediction (NWP) models. The NOAA UAS Program is currently developing a 3-year project, Sensing Hazards with Operational Unmanned Technology (SHOUT), to quantify the influence of UAS environmental and in-storm data to high impact weather prediction and assess the operational effectiveness of UAS to help mitigate the risk of satellite observing gaps. The NOAA UAS Program will partner with NASA to conduct missions using the NASA GH for operational prototype data collection. In addition to the dropsondes, other GH remote sensing instruments, ranging from passive microwave sounders to new radar and lidar systems will be tested and evaluated for operational effectiveness during the SHOUT campaign. High impact weather events such as Pacific winter storms and atmospheric rivers, and Atlantic and Eastern Pacific basin tropical cyclones will be primary candidates for targeted observations with the GH aircraft and, possibly, other UAS. An overview of the SHOUT project plan will be presented, highlighting the scientific and operational objectives of the plan. Additional details of the instruments to be deployed on the GH will be discussed, including real-time capabilities for use by researchers, forecasters, and NWP models.
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