Listen: National Hurricane Center, Florida, Noah discussed on Weather Geeks
"Doing this and and you know we didn't really know better. you know we could fly in as low as five hundred feet. If it was a stronger storm may be fifteen hundred feet. I mean yeah fifteen hundred feet or or five thousand feet sometimes typically low because that's the highest winds are are right around around fifteen hundred feet and you're trying to sample the you know the most severe part of the storm so if you want to sample the highest wins you have to be down there at those altitudes now they've they realized that you know if if something something happens on the aircraft that doesn't give you a lot of I've altitude to work with to try to fix things and so there's been a couple of close calls there was one Jeff Masters Remembers Go Yeah Hurricane Hugo yes jess jeff masters with the founder of weather underground those those listeners familiar with weather underground very harrowing experience World Windsurfing Buddies. Yes so yes there was one there and and then there there were some experiments that were conducted the blast experiments in early two thousands where because of salt deposition on the the engines sometimes they were flameouts where they could lose an engine so they realize realized that that was a consequence of of low level flights and picking up a lot of salt from the Aerosol Aerosol from the sea surface so now they tend to fly higher and have expendable that can measure those winds download hello dave gps on and and also remote-sensing using the stepped frequency microwave radiometer and we are back on the weather geeks podcast and I'm talking with Dr Mark Powell who I I knew from the Noah Hurricane Research Division. He's now working on our Ram S. H. Wind is coming to from IHEART Radio Studios in Tallahassee Florida Florida and you just heard some fascinating things about his early career. I would say the bulk of his career in terms of his work at HR D. and flying through hurricanes McCain's to collect data for research and even for some operational uses as it goes we have the Air Force her hurricane hunters and then Noah certainly has hurricane hunters as well or hurt planes fly into storms. They even have planes fly over storms. If you will somewhat with Gulfstream plane as well NASA has planes that do these types of things as well. This leads me to h wind. your research is led you to H wind snapshot. Tell US little bit about this product why it's being developed in Kenneth Supplement or replace some of these dangerous aircraft trips yeah that's kind of an interesting story so you know it sounds really the heroic and offline into these hurricanes but what I didn't mention as I usually get sick on about half of well you certainly we certainly understand stand and so I was looking for ways to contribute maybe by not having to fly as often and I I I noticed that the the aircraft the no aircraft had air satellite data link where they could send data directly to the national hurricane the center and then I had the opportunity because HR D. was one floor below the National Hurricane Center in court when we were in coral gables to see how that information formation was being used and so I had a whole bunch of ideas of how to better utilize that information and that that was the that really started me on the track towards and of course the the developing Internet also helped of real time observation based raced winfield analysis from multiple platforms so using everything we can get our hands on being sent out from the aircraft but in addition booties weather station said airports ships and various satellite platforms served with different remote sensing techniques measuring winds at the surface and and because I because I was trained as is a boundary layer specialist especially at Penn State I I knew that you had to take into account the heights of animal the upstream fetch roughness to be able to standardize measurements events. You could analyze all this all these different types of measurements together to get one surface winfield analysis you heard Dr Powell Mitch and the Boundary Layer and that's for those weather geeks listeners that don't have a formal training in meteorology. That's the kind of this verse Cul Lamad or so it can actually vary and it has changed from day to night as well in terms of its depth but it's sort of this layer of the atmosphere where the surface in the lowest layer of the atmosphere sort of kind of exchange information talk to each other if you will you often hear one kilometer so the first one kilometer lower one kilometer of the atmosphere and in a hurricane environment over the ocean the boundary layer processes are very very important and so certainly would understand why in some of your early career you're collecting data or flying at low levels to to assert sample the boundary layer you mentioned satellite data. You know I'm a satellite guy spent most of my career before the University of Georgia at NASA Can you talk to the listeners listeners about some of the ways that satellite is used to measure when I know they're things like scatter arbiters and other things. Can you just give the listeners a little one on one on those types of techniques sneaks yeah sure well a scatter ometer is is one one of the main platforms we used to gather other information on winds primarily the periphery of the hurricane and they're actually improving their algorithms that you can get you can start detecting higher wins from those instruments but they're looking at the scattering of these very tiny waves that are on top of the wind waves are called capillary waves and they can detect the wind direction based on those capillary ways because the signal is different at the wave is going towards or away from the the beam that that's been transmitted from the satellite so there and and the strength of the return scattering of that signal they can actually get a wind speed and actually. It's one of the things that are H. One product has been used by NASA the European Space Agency and Canadian Space Agency to help derive these functions that go from what the satellite actually measure said it actually doesn't measure wind measure measure something that's affected by win so this the back scatter of that microwave signal is affected by wind and so they can overlay that back scattered signal on top of one of our winfield's and get that relationship between back scattered and wind speed and that's called a gps go- model function. That's what actually gets the winds from that satellite signal. I love it. We're geeking out here with Dr Mark Powell talking talking all about tropical meteorology and how we measure some of these things. I wanted to make sure you explain that because you know oftentimes. I don't think people realize just how how much satellite data is utilized. I mean we have aircraft. We have observations but this global network of satellites that Noah and NASA and other space agencies he's have up. There are important not just for research day-to-day operations. I often see the National Hurricane Center mention ask. GATT added other scatter ometer in their discussions when they're trying to the locate the center place hurricanes and you're also using inure techniques as well so along comes this risk management company. R. M. S. tell us a little bit about Ram ass and then how they got connected to the H. Wind project sure well while while I was developing this H win product in actually in Noah and we're putting our analyses out on the web have been unfortunately our funding at Noah was starting enough not to keep up and and it's getting tougher to keep the program going and I saw an opportunity to see if I could rather than see see. It's it on the shelf in in a government lab whether I could take it out into the private sector so I spent about a year working with Noah's technology partnership program to see if there's a way that I could bring it out of into the private sector after about a year I was granted the inventor writes to pigewoman product and I did a startup right here in Tallahassee at a incubator called Domi station and and I started writing my Roth. Ira To hire PhD's out of Florida State and so we got started and after about a Oh little over a year and a half we've got acquired by risk management solutions who had been using our products to help develop their hurricane their North Atlantic Hurricane risk model so that's that's how we got going in and they saw that there was a lot of talented Florida state eight and one to have a you know a some visibility here in Tallahassee so we have an office in Dan the a college town area in Tallahassee and a handful of really bright young scientists working with me and and we also employ several students of the FSU and Florida and m helping us as a as a three time Florida state alum. I I can imagine if I were a student at that time I would have been chopping at the bit to perhaps work in a company like this. What a great opportunity. one thing that you said in net discussion though I wanna Kinda fixate on for a moment because you talked about this lapse in government funding government funding no Anassa National Science Foundation Department of Energy is very important for standing up new capabilities new technology but as we know funding in the government system. Tom Is at the whim of the president the Congress and many other factors but that's interesting that you I guess a lifetime civil servant if you will or at least very much in the the civil servants system recognize the opportunities and the private sector say a little bit more about just your overall perspective on the public private partnership ship within the weather enterprise seem like he was really a nice opportunity for you. Yeah I think I think probably the that that the pressure on funding actually helped me to some extent because the the base funding of our laboratory wasn't even keeping up with inflation so the only way I was able to keep going was I had to hustle and get proposals funded even some from the private sector so after Hurricane Andrew we got some funding from Florida power and light we we got funding from the National Institutes an Institute of Building Sciences we were I was active as one of the Tech Committee for the hazardous model from from Fema sure so there were there were a bunch of kind of nonstandard funding sources that was able to successfully go after but seemed like the and even for a while we were developing this as something that could be used at the National Hurricane Center through the joint hurricane tests but as well so that that kind of prepared me for you know when you're in the private sector you gotta do that to you got to go out there and hustle to get to get clients so so you know being able to talk to some of these you know large insurance companies companies like Swiss. Re You know as a as a startup from from a little business incubator in Tallahassee was a big deal and we are back on the weather geeks podcast. I'm Dr Marshall Shepherd from the University of Georgia. I'm talking talking with Dr Mark Powell and we're talking about his fascinating imagery and product h wind and he just talked about how risk management companies are thinking about out in utilizing this very interesting wind information you to assess risk and think about sort of risk portfolio which is a big issue you now and weather and risk and even climate change in all types of other things but I want to shift gears now and d.c out again this show. We like the Geek Yeah. We Talk to meteorologist lot and weaken geek out on this show. We can really use the terminology. We're not trying to necessarily simplify things but we definitely try to explain things if we don't don't think people understand them. I'm going to bring up a term here that may not be familiar to some but then we're going to geek out on it integrated Connecticut Energy your big proponent proponent of using integrated kinetic energy. I Ki- I k. e. And you'd think that we should be using this to supplement the way we categorize hurricanes pains and that's been a big discussion in recent years with Harvey and Florence in this notion of win versus rain and Florence necessarily early was a big rain producer impacts but the Saffir Simpson scale didn't necessarily convey it. Tell us what integrated kinetic energy is and why you think we should be using it more okay sure well integrated kinetic energy is just a It's a metric for the size of the Winfield and hurricane so what we do is from one of our winfield's we'd look at the area that has wins over tropical storm force and kind of put what a checkerboard over that or grit cells over that and each each box we we square to wind multiply by the density the of the air and we sum it up into this value so it's basically kind of waiting the storm on on how much energy that is in the Winfield near the surface so we're really comes in as when you have storms said may may not be up there on the saffir-simpson scale in terms of intensity but have large winfield so so hurricane Ike was is or Hurricane Sandy. Were really good examples of this storms that were barely you know. Sandy was barely a hurricane am and then actually not a hurricane right right after landfall but a huge winfield and so that that large winfield can get a lot of water moving it can force a lot of waves waves propagate out ahead of Surrey Canes and have tremendous destructive impacts of so you can have a case say say for New Orleans. They might think what we need category five protection or for levies or something and there were stipe may or may not be a category five live it might be a huge category to just because of the large amount of water a big winfield's can get moving and I think that's an important portent point because as we talk about one of our former colleagues ed rappaport has always talked about really water is the problem in the deadly aspect of a hurricane whether that rainfall and in this case surge so you're suggesting that this I k. e. can be a nice supplemental factor in quantifying that surged surged risk if you will that's right yeah and so one of the things that we do when we're issuing are our products we go into a twenty four seven shift cycle when a when hurricanes active and RECON aircraft are flying into it were updating our analyses every three hours and work computing the integrated kinetic energy then we'll we'll compare it to other storms arms in history so that you can kinda get a bench market at least in terms of the the Winfield part and its ability to move water has this compare into Katrina or Camille or other other storms that the public and businesses are very familiar with yeah. This is fascinating. I mean I've been involved in some research with a couple of colleagues even recently on trying to have an integrated product like this but further rainfall aspect of the storm to it's a challenging problem but there's something we've been thinking about while I have well. I have you mark Powell here. We're talking with Dr Mark Powell expert on Tropical Meteorology you. I know it's different right from the I K E but you do hear it out there. So I WANNA make sure our weather geeks listeners understand the difference between a and then this term ace that you saw this that that you often hear people talk about in the hurricane world. Can you distinguish what ace is."