Science

Ocean mapping by Saildrones could improve storm surge forecasts

Saildrones are autonomous vehicles that operate in the ocean off the coast of Florida. They help us understand climate change, hurricanes and forecasts. Much of the destruction from hurricanes comes from the storm surge, but that’s hard to predict. Advances in storm surge forecasting may come with better information about the ocean floor. Hurricane-force winds aren’t the only thing that affects storm surges. Katrina was a Category 3 when it made landfall in Louisiana, but it had a storm surge of 28 feet. coastal communities, a 7-meter wave could flood 67% of highways, nearly half of all rail lines, 29 airports, and virtually all ports in the Gulf Coast area. do storm surge because if there’s any sort of change in the slope or there are features on the bottom of the ocean if that storm comes ashore and pushes the water those features or that slope can really change the way the water moves change,” said Brian Connon, vice president of ocean mapping at Saildrone Inc. But only about 35% of the United States’ more than 95,000 miles of coastal waters have been mapped using modern methods. using high-tech sonar equipment.”A Saildrone is a unique wind-powered vehicle that has a very long lifespan. So, traditional research is done with a typical ship that goes out, has a lot of people on board, has a lot of diesel fuel that it burns. With a Saildrone you don’t have the people. You’re using the wind for propulsion, and really, that makes this very environmentally friendly and gives us very long endurance to stay out and get to the farthest parts of the ocean, allowing us to map to over 7,000 feet deep so more than 23,000 feet below the surface,” Connon said. Sonar is sound in the ocean. “The sound travels and hits the bottom of the ocean and then comes back, and we receive it. And that time difference, by taking into account the speed of sound in the water, allows us to determine the depth of the water under the sailboat,” Cannon said. Accurate ocean mapping can also help with navigation and management of natural resources. resources, but there is hope that it can help save lives with better storm surge forecasting.

Saildrones are autonomous vehicles that operate in the ocean off the coast of Florida.

They help us understand climate change, hurricanes and forecasts.

Much of the destruction from hurricanes comes from the storm surge, but that’s hard to predict.

Advances in storm surge prediction could come with better information about the ocean floor.

Hurricane-force winds aren’t the only thing that affects storm surges. Katrina was a Category 3 when it made landfall in Louisiana, but it had a storm surge of 28 feet.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration provided a map showing the flooding of a 23-foot wave.

NOAA estimates that in the coastal communities of the Gulf and East Coast, a 7-meter wave could inundate 67% of the highways, nearly half of all rail lines, 29 airports, and virtually all ports in the Gulf Coast area.

“The topography of the ocean floor is a boundary condition for the models that do storm surges, because if there’s any sort of change in slope or features on the ocean floor, that storm comes ashore and pushes the water, which features or that slope can really change the way the water moves,” said Brian Connon, vice president of ocean mapping at Saildrone Inc.

But only about 35% of the United States’ more than 95,000 miles of coastal waters have been mapped by modern methods.

Now unmanned surface vehicles called Saildrones are being used to accurately and cost-effectively map the ocean floor using high-tech sonar equipment.

“A Saildrone is a unique wind-powered vehicle that has a very long lifespan. So, traditionally research is done with a typical ship that goes out, has a lot of people on board, has a lot of diesel fuel that it burns. With a Saildrone you have the people don’t you use the wind for propulsion and that makes this really very environmentally friendly and gives us a really long endurance to stay out and get to the furthest parts of the ocean that allows us to go over 7,000 feet in so more than 23,000 feet below the surface,” Connon said.

Sonar is sound in the ocean.

“The sound travels and hits the bottom of the ocean and then it comes back, and we receive it. And that time difference, by taking into account the speed of sound in water, allows us to measure the depth of the water below the ocean, the sailboat,” Cannon said.

Accurate ocean mapping can also help with navigation and natural resource management, but there’s hope it could help save lives with better storm surge forecasting.

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