NASA’s armada of research aircraft arrived at Hurricane Karl on Thursday, Sept. 16.
The Global Hawk left southern California at 6 a.m. PDT for a 24-hour roundtrip flight to observe the storm. The DC-8, temporarily based in Ft Lauderdale, Fla., took off at approximately 1 p.m. EDT for about seven hours of research time. The WB-57, based in Houston, Texas, began its six-hour mission at about 12:30 CDT. The aircraft rendezvoused at the storm, which is currently in the Bay of Campeche in the Gulf of Mexico.
The Global Hawk’s altitude is about 60,000 feet over Karl, while the WB-57 is flying between 56,000 and 58.000 feet. The DC-8 joins the other two at an altitude of between 33,000 and 37,000 feet.
Today’s coordinated flights are the first time during the GRIP campaign that NASA’s three aircraft have been in the same storm at the same time. In addition, aircraft from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Science Foundation and the Air Force are monitoring Hurricane Karl.
The Genesis and Rapid Intensification Processes, or GRIP, mission is a six-week study of the formation and strengthening of tropical storms in the Gulf of Mexico and western Atlantic Ocean.
Explore further: NASA to fly into hurricane research this summer