Thursday, March 1, 2018

Recon of atmospheric rivers

53rd over San Diego on atmospheric river recon.
Air Force photo
KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. – The Hurricane Hunters of the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron performed weather reconnaissance of atmospheric rivers. It was done in partnership with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Atmospheric rivers carry water vapor in streams through the sky. They can carry an equivalent of about 25 times the amount of water in the Mississippi River as water vapor and can be 500 miles wide, thousands of miles long and have winds between 50 knots and hurricane-force speeds. The squadron has flown six missions totaling 92 hours, launching WC-130J Super Hercules aircraft from Hawaii and California for four of the missions. The squadron released 256 dropsondes into atmospheric rivers over the Pacific Ocean from about 30,000 feet. These dropsondes collect data including air pressure, temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction, and global positioning system information. This data is then used by Scripps, the Sonoma County Water Agency, the California Department of Water Resources, the Army Corps of Engineers and other agencies to gain more knowledge about atmospheric rivers and increase the accuracy of forecast models. (Source: 403rd Wing, 03/01/18)