Cherokee Nation Technologies (CNT), a provider of technology solutions, has announced that it has been supporting the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA to advance hurricane forecasting and rapidly assess post-storm damage during the Atlantic hurricane season.
CNT provides the NOAA Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) program with services in science, technology and operations, including program management, systems engineering, data management, testing and evaluation.
The collaborative effort recently utilized NASA’s Global Hawk UAS to fly above hurricanes Gaston, Hermine, Karl and Matthew, and in front of Hurricane Nicole. The Global Hawk has also previously flown over Tropical Storm Erika, resulting in the first time that its real-time weather data has been implemented into hurricane models around the world to assist in forecasting a tropical storm.
The missions performed by NOAA UAS Program’s Sensing Hazards with Operational Unmanned Technology Team, also known as SHOUT, provide forecasters at the National Hurricane Center with real-time, vertical meteorological observations, which are being used to better forecast pending hazardous weather events and to increase the continuity of satellite data.
Forecasters use data collected by the high-flying drones to assist in predicting the intensity and path of current and future hurricanes. The Global Hawk’s capability to scan large areas of the ocean has also proven beneficial as an observing platform for environmental assessment and forecasting.
“This important work is making it possible to learn more about severe weather without risking a life in uncertain environments. It’s also assessing and alerting emergency personnel to damage left in the immediate wake of hazardous storms,” said Steven Bilby, president of Cherokee Nation’s diversified businesses. “Together with our partnering agencies, we have helped implement a one-of-a-kind technology that continues to provide the public with invaluable services.”
A smaller UAS recently utilized aerial imagery to assess post-storm damage in Georgia after Hermine passed through the area. The images were immediately provided to the local Emergency Management Agency and National Weather Service.
“It is thrilling that Cherokee Nation Technologies can be supporting NOAA and other interagency partners while flying this cutting-edge technology in support of Hurricane Matthew and several other storm systems during this Atlantic hurricane season,” said JC Coffey, executive director of unmanned systems for Cherokee Nation Technologies. “From program management to scientists, it is an honor to be part of these historic flights.”