Rutgers University
  • Hurricane Gliders 2021

    Posted on May 3rd, 2021 Scott Glenn No comments

    Today marks the start of our 10th year of dedicated storm glider flights, and the 4th year of the international North Atlantic hurricane glider picket lines.  Just like the hurricanes in nature, we are spinning up the hurricane glider deployments and the hurricane blog before the official start of hurricane season.  Our objective, to help keep the ocean components of the forecast models on track well ahead of any hurricane, requires us to mover to earlier and earlier underwater glider deployments.

    The hurricane blog is about the ocean, how the ocean is impacted by the intense hurricane forcing, and how the ocean feeds back on hurricane intensity.  We care about the full continuous spectrum of intensity change, including the “human-defined” rapid intensification, and also rapid weakening. Over the last few years of the hurricane glider picket line, we have defined the Essential Ocean Features that impact North Atlantic hurricane intensity, and have noted that they are regionally dependent.  Our 4 hurricane regions, based on the Essential Ocean Features they contain, are the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico, the South Atlantic Bight, and the Mid Atlantic Bight.  These regions roughly correspond to the U.S. IOOS Regional Association locations, with the simple caveat that nature is not constrained by national boundaries, and we must include the other national and international waters adjacent to our IOOS Regions in our hurricane analyses.

    The 2021 hurricane blog will focus on a comparison of two operational global ocean models [NOAA’s Real Time Ocean Forecast System (RTOFS) and the Navy’s Global Ocean Forecast System (GOFS)] and three regional coupled atmosphere ocean forecast models (HWRF, HMON and HAFS).  We also focus on the use of profile data from underwater gliders and Argo floats, and the evaluation of the ocean component of these models with the profile data.  This serves as another set of eyes looking at the ocean models that are already undergoing their regular evaluation processes as part of these national efforts.

    This blog is also intended to support student research. This is where we leave that trail of bread crumbs that document the research issues we discover as we move through the hurricane season, making it easier to retrace events during the end of season look-backs,  and hopefully providing students opportunities to jump right into research studies that will have an impact.

    This year we are starting the season early.  The first hurricane glider was deployed in the Mid Atlantic on May 3.  We’ll start seeing its data making it through the system in about a day.  We’ll start by looking at the general conditions for the Mid Atlantic before today’s glider is assimilated.