92nd American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting (January 22-26, 2012)

Wednesday, 25 January 2012: 5:00 PM
The Future of Tropical Cyclone Observation
Room 235/236 (New Orleans Convention Center )
Kerry A. Emanuel, MIT, Cambridge, MA

In spite of enormous advances in remote sensing technology, observations of global tropical cyclone activity remain insufficient for many purposes and arguably inferior to what was available 40 years ago, when western North Pacific tropical cyclones were routinely surveyed by reconnaissance aircraft. In this talk, I will review recent research that demonstrates the large, positive influence of airborne Doppler radar and air-deployed dropsonde data on numerical forecasts of tropical cyclones and argue that in-situ or near-field remote sensing measurements are vital to the task of monitoring these storms. This suggests that for the purposes of forecasting tropical cyclone and of monitoring their response to climate change, we should develop economic but effective means of measuring tropical cyclones, not only in the North Atlantic but wherever they occur. I will discuss recent technical advances in unmanned airborne vehicles, including solar-powered propulsion, dropsonde technology, and active radiometric measurements from satellites that offer the prospect of much improved observation of tropical cyclones worldwide.

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