Hurricane formation and movement is now largely tracked by satellites, but a new project set to launch on August 15 hopes to change that!
The project is called PREDICT and stands for the Pre-Depression Investigation of Cloud Systems in the Tropics, and is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) with support from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). PREDICT will run for 45 days through September 30 and it is going to study why some tropical thunderstorms grow into the often-deadly hurricanes while many others dissipate.
Flying aboard Gulfstream aircraft, PREDICT researchers will make observations from close proximity, and above, storm systems. In addition to deploying dropsondes – parachute-borne instrument packages, the researchers will use remote sensing and cloud physics instruments to gather data on temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction, and characteristics of ice particles and their nuclei, which may include African dust.
PREDICT will coordinate its effort with two additional concurrent, but independent, missions in the region – one organized by NASA and one run by NOAA. While all three projects have independent objectives, scientists hope that the collective data will paint a more complete picture of a hurricane's life cycle.
Want to learn more? Check out this great video that explains the PREDICT concept from an experts point of view!
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