A remote laboratory at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric science has been undergoing tests meant to reveal what makes hurricanes turn into calamity monsters. Science shows us that hurricane conditions can be created on demand, as the technological era unveils new opportunities for scientists and researchers.
Thanks to the new technological improvements, researchers can generate tropical storm conditions with the press of a button.
The laboratory features a giant and clear acrylic tank 23 meters long and 2 meters high, where 38.000 gallons of sea water can be blown into white-capped furious waves by a very efficient 1400 horsepower fan that can create conditions similar to a Category 5 hurricane, with strong winds blowing with over 157 miles per hour.
For researchers this is a great chance to use the lab in order to improve storm observations in real time, through sattelites.
The satellite sensors can be mounted on the lab’s ceilings looking down at hurricane conditions swirling in the tank. This could represent considerable help in observing real storms and their inner workings, scientists comment.
The real time storm observations will be improved with the help of satellites, ocean buoys, drones and all kinds of other sensors launched from an aircraft nicknamed “hurricane hunter”. What once used to be a fine-tuned movie, meant to entertain our moods, turns into touchable reality, with good chances for us to understand nature’s inner workings and maybe take measures to stop calamities from happening.
However, equipment must bear serious improvement, as researchers cannot yet dig deep into the images satellites provide, as the machines are very sensitive to small things on the surface. They still don’t manage to capture what happens in extreme conditions, as the satellites are incapable of distinguishing every little detail, hence confusions arise.
Satellites have reinforcement coming from the side of drones that fly down into dark and stormy places, collecting data from hurricane forecasting models. On the sides of drones and satellites researchers use a variety of other sensors and underwater gliders, to collect most relevant information. Technical difficulties still arise, but with the help of science and technology improvement is only a question of time.
Hurricanes have the strength of a multiple horsepower engine and are fueled with the force of warm ocean waters, velocity that makes researchers still stumble upon undecipherable mysteries, as they cannot clearly see what exactly happens when the high speed winds coming from a storm meet the surface of the water.
Image Source: arstechnica.com