Later today, NOAA (11:30AM ET) will issue its initial outlook for the 2016 Atlantic hurricane season during a news conference at the NOAA Satellite Operations Facility in Suitland, Maryland.
In addition to the seasonal prediction, NOAA experts will highlight exciting upgrades and new tools that will contribute to more precise hurricane track and intensity forecasts this year. These important upgrades will improve NOAA’s ability to communicate risk from tropical systems to the public and emergency managers. FEMA will also be on hand to discuss the importance of personal preparedness. The Atlantic hurricane season officially begins June 1.
In an article posted today, Digital Trends reports how forecast models have greatly improved in the decade since Hurricane Katrina.
Meteorologists are getting better at predicting hurricanes because our ability to model the atmosphere has improved dramatically. And while you’d think NASA is more concerned with getting astronauts into space, that’s only part of its job. The agency actually has a team at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland working tirelessly day and night to improve those forecasts, and it has seen much success over the past decade.
Every forecast you see these days is not only the product of a human meteorologist, but also a computer. Modern forecasters use computer models of the atmosphere to help them figure out what the weather will do next. With hurricanes, that’s all the more important because it could be the difference between life and death.
“Freshwater floods, often caused by hurricanes, are the number one cause of death by natural disasters in the world, even above earthquakes and volcanoes,” Goddard tropical meteorologist Oreste Reale said. “Seeing how the research we do could have an impact on these things is very rewarding.”