Flights supported operational requirements and research objectives
Fifteen NOAA P-3 (NOAA42) missions were flown into Dorian in the Caribbean and West Atlantic. The missions were flown as taskings for the NOAA/NCEP/Environmental Modeling Center to provide airborne data collection (tail Doppler radar, dropsonde, Stepped Frequency Microwave Radiometer, and flight level observations), to initialize the operational Hurricane Weather Research and Forecasting (HWRF) Model. We believe this is the most NOAA P-3 missions (15) ever flown in a single storm. AOML also provided ground radar science support for the P-3 to transmit Tail Doppler Radar analyses from the aircraft to EMC and NHC (for visualization in their operational AWIPS-II environment).
One P-3 flight included overflight of the NOAA/AOML Ocean Gliders located north and south of Puerto Rico (see figure below). The P-3 mission enabled researchers to release two dropsondes within 10-13 nautical miles of two glider locations in the storm.
Although the missions were all operationally-tasked, P-3 and G-IV flights into Dorian will likely prove to be very beneficial for research as many experiments within the
Early, Mature, and End Stages of the HFP Science Plan overlap with sampling performed during the missions. Sampling of the near complete life cycle with aircraft is
unique, and should be valuable to our researchers and collaborators.