The NASA Global Hawk unmanned aircraft touched down Friday morning at NASA Wallops Flight Facility on the Virginia coast where NOAA and NASA scientists are preparing it for flights over Atlantic hurricanes.
Testing new scientific technology is a risky business. In the case of two Saildrones released in the eastern Bering Sea over a month ago, the risk has led to big rewards. Equipped with a suite of scientific sensors, the unmanned surface vehicles are performing beyond researchers’ expectations during their first test run in cold waters. Each Saildrone has collected over 40 million measurements over the course of the planned 2.5 month test mission.
On April 22, two autonomous surface vehicles equipped with meteorological and oceanographic sensors will be released for the first time in the Bering Sea by NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL). Saildrones have the capacity to increase observational infrastructure in remote and hostile polar regions where ship time and human labor is costly and potentially hazardous. The ongoing development of Saildrones is a collaborative effort of researchers at PMEL, the Joint Institute for the Study of Atmosphere and Ocean (JISAO) at the University of Washington, the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and Saildrone Inc.
If you’ve ever sailed aboard a ship in the ocean, or checked a weather report before heading to the beach, then you are one of many millions of people who benefit from ocean observations. NOAA collects ocean observations and weather data to provide mariners with accurate forecasts of seas, coastal weather forecasts and regional climate predictions. Partnerships are essential to maintaining a network of free-floating, data-gathering buoys known as drifters. NOAA’s latest partner is not your typical research or ocean transportation vessel: the six sailboats and crew currently racing around the world in the Volvo Ocean Race.
Nearly 30 years after the protections of the Montreal Protocol were put into place, there’s more evidence that the international agreement to protect Earth’s ozone layer is working, according to a new scientific report released today at the United Nations headquarters in New York.