NASA on Wednesday shared a stunning image, captured from space, of the 2019 Hurricane Dorian to mark the beginning of the Atlantic hurricane season. Dorian was the most powerful storm to hit the Bahamas since records began. In a long Instagram post, the American space agency explained through five pointers how it is preparing to weather the hurricane season this year. June 1 marks the beginning of the hurricane season in the Atlantic and the US government’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has predicted an above-average number of storms this year.
The five pointers described in the caption dealt with NASA’s ability to see storms from space; to see inside hurricanes in 3D; climate change and hurricane behaviour; the agency’s ability to monitor damage due to hurricanes; and help communities prepare for storms and deal with their aftermath. In a separate blog post, it said that NASA is developing new technology and missions to study storm formation and impacts.
NASA scientists will study climate change’s impact on storm behaviour. It said more storms are increasing in strength quickly, because of “rapid intensification,” and gaining wind speeds by 35mph in just 24 hours. It added that the data collected by researchers will be made available to the public for free and for regional and local governments “to use to prepare for and understand the impacts of these disasters.”
NOAA has predicted a likely range of 13-20 named Atlantic storms this season between June 1 and November 30, of which 6-10 could become hurricanes — including 3-5 major hurricanes. But the forecasters at the government agency said they do not expect the historic level of storm activity seen in 2020.
Last year, a record of 30 named storms were identified during the hurricane season, 12 of which made landfall in the US.