NASA’s Hurricane and Severe Storms Sentinel (HS3) mission investigated four tropical cyclones in the 2014 Atlantic Ocean hurricane season. The HS3 mission used a remotely piloted Global Hawk aircraft over named storms Cristobal, Dolly and Edourd, and flew a manned mission with a WB-57 aircraft over Gonzalo due to technical issues with the Global Hawk.
“Despite forecasts for a below-normal hurricane season, 2014 became our best deployment year of the mission by providing us with four storms, two of which became major hurricanes,” said Dr. Scott Braun, HS3 mission principal investigator from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.
Tropical Storm Cristobal became a hurricane late on Aug. 25 as it moved through the Bahamas. During the Global Hawk’s 24-hour mission on Aug. 28, the aircraft flew a “lawnmower,” or back-and-forth pattern, over Hurricane Cristobal while gathering data using dropsondes and two other instruments.
The Atlantic Ocean’s hurricane season ended Nov. 30, but scientists will continue to comb through the data to uncover the secrets behind these tropical transitions for years to come.