Georgian scientists use robots to improve hurricane predictions

A team of scientists are using robots dozens of miles off the Georgian coast to improve hurricane predictions. said Catherine Edwards, associate professor at the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography. Edwards told WJCL that while the weather community is adept at predicting where and when a hurricane will make landfall, it has struggled to predict a hurricane’s intensity. back to Hurricane Michael where you could have gone to bed and it’s a Category 1, and you wake up the next day it’s a Category 4. It’s terrifying,” Edwards said. Edwards said incorrect intensity forecasts can lead to diminished public confidence. “You might not trust the forecast as much next time, you might be less likely to evacuate if the storm is weaker than expected,” Edwards said. That’s where the robots come in. A torpedo-shaped robot called a glider moves up and down in the water and measures things like temperature and salinity. This data is transmitted to shore every few hours.” The glider calls back to shore when it surfaces every 4-6 hours and one of our science team members monitors the call and we can get a subset data collected by gliders,” Edwards said. The gliders are flown by technicians from the University of Georgia’s Skidaway Institute and other partner institutions. Scientists also use a robot called a sail drone. Sailing drones are unmanned surface vehicles powered by wind and solar energy. They are controlled remotely via satellite telecommunications. “The sail drone measures temperature and humidity, but it also measures the amount of energy coming from the atmosphere into the ocean,” Edwards said. Together, these instruments provide scientists with a powerful data set to help improve hurricane forecasting because they help scientists understand where and how heat and energy are exchanged between the ocean and the atmosphere. We are told that paired teams of gliders and sail drones will operate not only in the Atlantic Ocean, but also in the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico.

A team of scientists are using robots dozens of miles off the Georgian coast to improve hurricane forecasts.

“So what we’re doing today is deploying a glider, an underwater robot, close to where we’ve deployed a robotic surface vehicle that’s collecting weather data,” said Catherine Edwards, associate professor at the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography.

Edwards told WJCL that while the weather community is adept at predicting where and when a hurricane will make landfall, it has struggled to predict a hurricane’s intensity.

“Think of Hurricane Michael in [2018] where you maybe went to bed and it’s a Category 1, and you wake up the next day it’s a Category 4. It’s terrifying,” Edwards said.

Edwards said incorrect intensity forecasts can lead to diminished public confidence.

“You might not trust the forecast as much next time, you might be less likely to evacuate if the storm is weaker than expected,” Edwards said.

This is where robots come in.

A torpedo-shaped robot called a glider moves up and down through the water and measures things like temperature and salinity. This data is transmitted ashore every few hours.

“The glider calls back to shore when it surfaces every 4 to 6 hours and one of our science team members monitors the call and we can get a subset of the data collected by the gliders,” Edwards said. .

The gliders are flown by technicians from the University of Georgia’s Skidaway Institute and other partner institutions.

Scientists also use a robot called a sail drone.

Saildrones are unmanned surface vehicles powered by wind and solar energy. They are controlled remotely by satellite telecommunications.

“The sail drone measures temperature and humidity, but it also measures the amount of energy from the atmosphere that enters the ocean,” Edwards said.

Together, these instruments provide scientists with a powerful dataset to help them improve hurricane forecasting as they help scientists understand where and how heat and energy are exchanged between the ocean and the atmosphere.

“Tools like this have already been shown to improve our ability to predict,” Edwards said.

We are told that paired teams of gliders and sail drones will operate not only in the Atlantic Ocean, but also in the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico.


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