News

NOAA Model Incorporates sUAS Data for First Time to Improve Hurricane Forecasts

Article and Figures Provided By: Dr. Jason Sippel (AOML/HRD)

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For over 30 years, NOAA has utilized reconnaissance aircraft to obtain measurements within tropical cyclones (TCs), including hurricanes in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico.  These platforms have proven extremely valuable for furthering TC research and  improving forecasts.  Any data that improves tropical cyclone forecasts in turn improves tropical cyclone watches, warnings, and  relevant evacuation information. 

The recent advent of small Uncrewed Aircraft Systems (sUAS) are being evaluated for their potential to enhance the reconnaissance data gathered by NOAA by operating in hazardous regions where conventional aircraft cannot fly.



NOAA Completes FVR-55 Operations in Marine Stratocumulus Clouds to Measure Atmospheric Aerosol Properties needed to Improve Climate Model Simulations

ARTICLE AND FIGURES PROVIDED BY: KENNETH VIERRA (SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY CORPORATION/UXS RESEARCH TRANSITION OFFICE) AND PATRICIA QUINN (NOAA/PMEL)

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Between August 8th and 18th, 2022, the NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL) and the University of Washington Cooperative Institute for Climate, Ocean, and Ecosystem Studies (CICOES) used the L3Harris Fixed Wing Vertical Takeoff and Landing Rotator (FVR-55) uncrewed aerial system (UAS) to measure aerosol and cloud vertical profiles with the NOAA Clear Sky and Cloudy Sky scientific payloads (descriptions provided below). The sensors in the payloads measure aerosol properties relevant to aerosol direct radiative forcing and aerosol - cloud interactions. The mission was supported, in part, by NOAA’s Earth Radiation Budget (ERB) program that was initiated to investigate natural and human activities that might alter the reflectivity of marine boundary clouds. The UAS measurements reported here will provide critical information on the processes that lead to the brightening of marine clouds with a potential cooling of the Earth’s surface.

NOAA Alaska Fisheries Science Center’s Ice Seal Research in the Eastern Bering Sea Aboard the NOAA Ship Oscar Dyson

ARTICLE AND FIGURES PROVIDED BY: MICHAEL CAMERON AND HEATHER ZIEL (NOAA AFSC)

Kenneth Vierra 0 899 Article rating: 2.7

NOAA’s Alaska Fisheries Science Center’s (AFSC) studies Alaska’s marine ecosystems to ensure the sustainable use and conservation of living marine resources in federal waters.  A recent study done by NOAA scientists focuses on surveying ice seals, with the primary goal of deploying non-invasive, low-disturbance methods for monitoring the body condition of Arctic seals as an indicator of population health and productivity. This work complements and expands the capabilities of NOAA’s existing large-area photographic surveys to monitor Arctic seal populations and their responses to a rapidly changing environment. The methods and techniques developed throughout this project will greatly enhance NOAA Fisheries capabilities to assess the status and trends of bearded, ringed, spotted, ribbon, and harbor seals in Alaska, as well as meet the agency’s responsibilities under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) and Endangered Species Act (ESA). From April 8th-25th 2022, researchers with the The Polar Ecosystems Program (PEP) embarked on the NOAA AFSC ice seal research expedition aboard the NOAA Ship Oscar Dyson in the eastern Bering Sea.

HORUS is Approved to Fly in the National Airspace in Northeastern Colorado

Article and Figures Provided By Xinyi Zeng, Science Communications Specialist

Kenneth Vierra 0 506 Article rating: 5.0

Uncrewed aerial systems (UAS) have long been heralded for their unique potential to sample the upper atmosphere at much lower costs and in environments unreachable by most aircraft. However, under normal flight rules, NOAA UAS can only fly up to 1,200 feet above ground level in the national airspace.

NOAA Global Monitoring Laboratory has recently obtained approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to fly the High-altitude Operational Returning Unmanned System (HORUS) up to 90,000 ft above mean sea level (MSL) in the national airspace in northeastern Colorado.

Marine Debris Detection with UAS, Machine Learning, and Polarimetric Imaging

Article and Figures Provided By Project Team: NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS), NOAA’s Marine Debris Program (MDP), and Oregon State University (OSU)

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Marine debris, human-made material that is discarded or abandoned into the marine environment, is a pervasive problem plaguing shorelines around the world. Marine debris poses serious threats to wildlife, degrades coastal and marine environments, and can negatively impact the Blue Economy (e.g., tourism, shipping, and fisheries).  NOAA’s Marine Debris Program (MDP), as the U.S. Federal lead for assessment, prevention, and removal of debris, works with partners across the Nation  to conduct debris shoreline surveys to identify debris accumulations, locations, and sources as part of the Marine Debris Monitoring and Assessment Project (MDMAP).  Data from these surveys have been used to assess spatial and temporal trends in shoreline debris, inform behavior change campaigns focusing on specific items and assess the effectiveness of legislation targeting specific items. In this project, NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS), NOAA’s MDP, and Oregon State University (OSU) partnered to investigate three emerging technologies with the potential to transform how marine debris shoreline surveys are conducted: uncrewed aircraft systems (UxS), machine learning, and polarimetric imaging (PI) cameras.    

This innovative technology and corresponding operations were funded and supported by the OAR Uncrewed Systems Research Transition Office (UxSRTO).
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