NOAA Measures Hurricane Activity with GPS

For the first time, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration plans to use global positioning satellite technology to monitor atmospheric moisture levels in a hurricane’s path.

In a report from the Associated Press, Cain Burdeau says NOAA researchers will use the technology “to measure the dynamics of airborne moisture far offshore in the Gulf of Mexico, and track the fuel available to ramp up tropical systems moving through the Gulf.”

According to Seth I. Gutman, a physical scientist and chief of NOAA's GPS-Met Observing Systems Branch in Boulder, Colo., how much energy a hurricane has depends on how much moisture is exchanged between the oceans and the atmosphere.

The main method of observing weather in the open ocean has, until now, been via buoys, and information that hurricane hunters collect with their weather instruments. Gutman said that ideally GPS stations should be mounted on many oil platforms – not only those close to shore – and on ships, presenting a broader picture for future forecasters of what’s happening in the atmosphere over the oceans.

To read the Associated Press article, click here: