Major hurricanes, intense wildfires, increasing concentrations of greenhouse gasses, deep sea discoveries, and more made 2022 an eventful year for NOAA Research. As we enter the final days of the year, we’re taking a look back at some of our biggest accomplishments from the last 12 months.
November 30th marked the official end to the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season. Scientists and forecasters from across NOAA worked tirelessly throughout the season to conduct critical tropical cyclone research. This year, NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) coordinated the longest series of missions into a single tropical system, arranged multiple observing assets for simultaneous data collection, deployed new small uncrewed aircraft system technology, and included a novel “moving nest” capability to our next-generation hurricane model.
New NOAA research published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, found that hurricane intensification rates near the U.S. Atlantic coast have increased significantly over the last 40 years and will likely continue to increase in the future.
Hurricane Andrew made landfall on August 24, 1992, near Homestead, Florida, becoming one of the most catastrophic hurricanes in U.S. history. It had an extremely low central pressure of 922 millibars and maximum sustained wind speeds estimated at 165 miles per hour. The storm rapidly intensified less than 36 hours before landfall, leaving most residents less than a day to secure their homes and heed evacuation orders.
When NOAA Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) staff found themselves with a major hurricane on their doorstep, hurricane researchers urgently began working to aid forecasters at NOAA’s National Hurricane Center (NHC). Hurricane Andrew affected their families, and even destroyed one scientist’s home. Once the hurricane passed, our scientists went right back to work, using what they had learned and seen firsthand to improve our understanding of tropical cyclones. In the 30 years since Andrew, NOAA scientists, forecasters and partners have revolutionized hurricane forecasting to save lives and property.
In partnership with NOAA, Saildrone Inc. is deploying seven ocean drones to collect data from hurricanes during the 2022 hurricane season with the goal of improving hurricane forecasting. For the first year, two saildrones will track hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico.
A new NOAA study published today in the journal Science Advances about four decades of tropical cyclones reveals the surprising result that reducing particulate air pollution in Europe and North America has contributed to an increase in the number of tropical cyclones in the North Atlantic basin and a decrease in the number of these storms in the Southern Hemisphere. The study also found that the growth of particulate pollution in Asia has contributed to fewer tropical cyclones in the western North Pacific basin.
Saildrone Inc. and NOAA have released the first video footage gathered by an uncrewed surface vehicle from inside a major hurricane barreling across the Atlantic Ocean.
Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) - or "NOAA Research" - provides the research foundation for understanding the complex systems that support our planet. Working in partnership with other organizational units of the NOAA, a bureau of the Department of Commerce, NOAA Research enables better forecasts, earlier warnings for natural disasters, and a greater understanding of the Earth. Our role is to provide unbiased science to better manage the environment, nationally, and globally.