2013-09-11. NASA Launches Drones from Virginia to Study Storms.

posted Sep 12, 2013, 8:38 AM by Alan Gould
For GSS Energy Flow chapter 7. Excerpt: ATLANTIC, Va. -- NASA scientists are using former military surveillance drones to help them understand more about how tropical storms intensify, which they say could ultimately save lives by improving forecast models that predict a hurricane's strength. The unmanned Global Hawk aircraft were designed to perform high-altitude, long-endurance reconnaissance and intelligence missions for the Air Force. ..."The biggest scientific question we're trying to attack is why do some hurricanes intensify very rapidly and why do others not intensify at all?  ...There are two questions on which NASA scientists primarily want the drone research to focus. One is what role thunderstorms within a hurricane play in its intensification. Researchers aren't sure if the thunderstorms are a driver of storm intensity or a symptom of it. The other is what role the Saharan Air Layer plays in the tropical storm development. The Saharan Air Layer is a dry, hot, dusty layer of air from Africa. Scientists have been at odds with each other over whether it helps hurricanes strengthen or does the opposite.... http://www.weather.com/news/science/space/nasa-launches-drones-study-storms-20130911. Brock Vergakis, The Weather Channel.