Scientists have discovered a new use for drones. Instead of sending airplanes into the center of tornadoes and hurricanes to measure their intensity (a method that can be dangerous and costly), researchers will dispatch small drones to collect storm data.
At least five drones will collect data from the most recent hurricane season, starting in June. “Scientists think they have a cost-effective solution: a drone called the Coyote designed to venture into that turbulent zone for as long as two hours and beam back a stream of data that can paint a more precise picture of a storm,” The Wall Street Journal explains.
“Weighing about 7 pounds with a 5-foot wingspan, the Coyotes will be dropped out of chutes in the NOAA’s WP-3 hurricane hunter aircraft while 10,000 to 12,000 feet above the ocean,” The Arizona Daily Star adds. The drones are remotely controlled. In other words, scientists and meteorologists can safely gather data about tornadoes and hurricanes hundreds of miles away. Computers enable scientists to remotely control the drones from a safe distance.
The drones are able to provide a much more comprehensive range of data and specifications about the storms.The Wall Street Journal elaborates on the progress in technology: “The way we’re measuring things now is a snapshot. The Coyote will give me a movie.”
“Most of our clients are very reactionary and very last minute when acquiring protection, which means we can only provide last minute tips that are not as effective as steps that can be taken earlier. If earlier notice was available, many individuals would be able to take more effective precautions against storms.” says Kenneth Fraine at P.E at Drainage & Erosion