September 22, 2016
Optimizing Operational Global Hawk Flight Patterns (SHOUT Project) with Respect to High-impact Weather Systems to Maximize TC Model Intensity and Structure Forecast Improvements
NOAA UAS Program Office/Cherokee Nation Technologies, LLC
Flight patterns from several Global Hawk flights from 2012-2016 in three field programs will be reviewed relative to feature identification and timing: 1) HS3, 2) Hurricane Sensing Hazards with Operational Unmanned Technology (SHOUT) and 3) SHOUT El Niño Rapid Response. This evaluation is being driven by a shift in Global Hawk use from primarily a research platform to an operational platform. Most flights used one of three standard pattern types: 1) Racetrack, 2) Alpha (or ‘Figure 4’) and 3) Butterfly, the latter two being flown relative to the moving storm center. A review of recent studies involving use of Global Hawk flight data in TC prediction models suggest that improvements in feature structural definition and model impact can be anticipated based upon pattern re-alignment relative to: 1) supporting aircraft and satellite data coverage, 2) feature orientation, 3) feature motion, 4) environmental wind shear as well as phasing relative to: i) anticipated intensity change times, ii) feature diurnal variation and iii) model Data Assimilation time/ duration. The importance of these considerations vs issues such as observational focus on predicted uncertainty regions in various ensemble model guidance will be briefly commented upon.