3.2 Coyote Hurricane Airborne Observations and Sensing (CHAOS)

Monday, 11 January 2016: 4:15 PM
Room 350/351 ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
Joseph J. Cione, NOAA, Miami, FL; and K. Twining, E. A. Kalina, E. W. Uhlhorn, and A. Brescia

Tropical cyclones are one of the most economically disruptive natural disasters that on average, cause $5.1 billion USD in damage each year. As such, accurate predictions of storm intensity and track are essential. The value of landfalling track accuracy alone has been estimated at $1 million USD per mile. One of the primary data gap regions associated with tropical cyclone sampling is located near the surface, especially within high wind regions of the storm. In an effort to fill this critical void, improve basic understanding and provide unique, real-time data to NOAA's operational centers, Coyote Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) equipped with small meteorological sensors were recently deployed into a major hurricane using NOAA's manned P3 Hurricane Hunter aircraft.

In September 2014, for the first time ever, multiple Coyote UAS were released on successive days from NOAA's P3 aircraft during reconnaissance missions into Hurricane Edouard. On September 16th, a Coyote UAS was deployed from approximately 3300m and flown into Edouard's eye at altitudes ranging from 1000-1500m. During this historic 28-minute mission, the UAS successfully reported information on wind speed and direction, atmospheric temperature, pressure, and humidity back to the NOAA P3 manned aircraft. During this inaugural flight, the Coyote also sampled the eyewall region of Hurricane Edouard and reported wind speeds in excess of 100 knots at an altitude of 896m. On the following day, an “inflow” experiment within the outer rainband region of the storm sampled conditions closer to the sea surface with a reported minimum controlled UAS altitude of 400m. This flight set a platform record for duration of 68 minutes. Both events significantly added to the value of data typically collected during P3 hurricane operations. Additional Coyote UAS flights are anticipated during the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season. Analyses of Coyote UAS flight data collected during Hurricane Edouard will be presented along with direct comparisons with thermodynamic and kinematic observations collected from GPS dropsondes.

- Indicates paper has been withdrawn from meeting
- Indicates an Award Winner