You don't often get to see inside a hurricane. But dramatic new footage from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration gives you the opportunity. All you need to do is access YouTube.
The video was captured by the Saildrone Explorer SD1045 sailing drone. According to the NOAA, the uncrewed surface vehicle had to contend with winds of 120 mph (193 kmph) and waves up to 50 feet (15 meters).
You don't need to be somewhere dangerous, warm, or dry to view the video footage.
The SD 1045 is currently on a mission collecting real-time data to help improve hurricane prediction models. The SD 1045 is equipped with a special "hurricane wings" that allows it to operate in even the most severe storm conditions.
Richard Jenkins, founder and CEO of Saildrone, says that Saildrone has gone where no research vessel ever went before. He is sailing into the eye of a hurricane to collect data that will change our understanding of these storms.
"After conquering both the Arctic and the Southern Ocean, hurricanes were the final frontier for Saildrone survival." We are proud to have designed a vehicle that can operate in extreme weather conditions.
The Saildrone Explorer SD1045 measures 7 meters (23 feet) in length. It is equipped with oceanographic and meteorological sensors to gather data as well as microphones, cameras, and cameras. It is powered by sunlight and wind and uses machine learning artificial intelligence (MLAI) to analyze different data as it arrives.
A human pilot controls the drone via satellite link. The drone can live more than one year at sea. Five of the autonomous drones are currently in the Atlantic. The fleet has more than 13,000 days on waves and covered more than 500,000 miles.
Hurricane Sam was the strongest and longest-lasting hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean's 2021 season. However, it avoided hitting land. It has since been downgraded from a category 2 storm to one that is currently being written.
This technology could also be used in the future to monitor the development of hurricanes and to provide advance warning about possible threats to lives.
Greg Foltz, an oceanographer at the NOAA, says that "using data collected from saildrones we expect to improve forecast models which predict rapid intensification hurricanes." Rapid intensification is when hurricane winds become stronger in just a few hours. This poses a serious threat for coastal communities.
"New data from saildrones, and other uncrewed system that NOAA uses will help us better predict hurricanes and allow us to warn communities sooner."