12th Conference on IOAS-AOLS


The first successful unmanned aerial system (UAS) mission into a tropical cyclone (Ophelia 2005)

Joseph J. Cione, NOAA/AOML/HRD, Miami, FL; and E. W. Uhlhorn, G. Cascella, S. J. Majumdar, C. Sisko, N. Carrasco, M. D. Powell, P. Bale, G. Holland, P. Turlington, D. Fowler, C. W. Landsea, and C. L. Yuhas

On September 16th 2005, NOAA, NASA and Aerosonde partners successfully flew into tropical storm Ophelia. This landmark event marked the first time an autonomous vehicle was flown into the core of a mature tropical system. At the time, Ophelia was a 55kt tropical storm and was located off the North Carolina coastline.

The primary objective of this mission was to utilize the unique capabilities of the Aerosonde unmanned aerial system (UAS) platform in order to document areas of the hurricane environment that are either impossible or impractical to routinely observe. A major success of the Ophelia flight was its immediate operational impact. The Aerosonde was able to provide critical near-surface wind speed measurements to the National Hurricane Center in real time at altitudes as low as 1200 ft. In fact, the Aerosonde platform recorded the highest winds observed in Ophelia (74kt) despite the presence of both NOAA and Air Force manned aircraft at the time. High-resolution thermodynamic and kinematic observations within Ophelia's low-level inner core were also collected during this UAS flight. Analyses of these unique data sets will ultimately result in the improved understanding of the rarely observed hurricane boundary layer environment. The Ophelia Aerosonde data set will also provide invaluable ground truth and should enable detailed comparisons between in-situ observations and airborne as well as satellite-derived estimates. Detailed analyses of this inaugural Aerosonde mission in addition to data collected by NOAA P3 and Air Force WC-130 aircraft will be presented.>

wrf recording  Recorded presentation

Session 15B, Results from Recent Field Experiments and Their Potential Relevance to Operational Prediction
Thursday, 24 January 2008, 1:30 PM-3:15 PM, 205

Previous paper  Next paper

Browse or search entire meeting

AMS Home Page