Alexandria, VA - Each year, as hurricanes hit U.S. coastlines, scientists study them to improve forecasts critical for saving lives and property. Last year, unmanned aircraft from NASA flew into the biggest storms as part of a project to improve hurricane forecasts by 50 percent over the next 10 years.
As EARTH Magazine reports in the August issue, three projects in particular -- the Hurricane Forecast Improvement Program, NASA's 2010 Genesis and Rapid Intensification Project Field Experiment and its replacement, the Hurricane and Severe Storm Sentinel Project -- may be responsible for a 20 percent error reduction in the hurricane track and intensity forecasts.
The addition of the unmanned aircraft, called Global Hawks, allows scientists to better observe hurricane evolution using a variety of sensors. For the 2013 hurricane season, already underway, scientists hope to corroborate Global Hawk data with Doppler data obtained in NOAA's manned "Hurricane Hunter" aircraft.
Learn more about advances in hurricane forecasting at http://bit.
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The American Geosciences Institute is a nonprofit federation of geoscientific and professional associations that represents more than 250,000 geologists, geophysicists and other earth scientists. Founded in 1948, AGI provides information services to geoscientists, serves as a voice of shared interests in the profession, plays a major role in strengthening geosciences education, and strives to increase public awareness of the vital role geosciences play in society's use of resources, resiliency to natural hazards, and interaction with the environment.