Saildrones’ ocean mapping could improve storm surge predictions

                Saildrones are autonomous vehicles that work in the ocean off the coast of Florida.  They are helping us understand climate change, hurricanes and forecasting.  Much of the destruction caused by hurricanes comes from storm surges, but it's hard to predict.  Advances in storm surge prediction could come with better information about the ocean floor.  Hurricane winds aren't the only thing that affects storm surge.  Katrina was a Category 3 when she landed in Louisiana but experienced a 28-foot wave.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has provided a map showing inundation from a 23-foot wave.  NOAA estimates that in the Gulf and East Coast coastal communities, a 23-foot surge can inundate 67 percent of highways, nearly half of all railroad tracks, 29 airports and virtually every port in the Gulf Coast area.  making a storm surge because essentially if there's any kind of change in slope or if there are features on the bottom of the ocean, as that storm comes ashore and pushes the water, those features or that slope could really change the how water moves,” said Brian Connon, vice president of ocean mapping at Saildrone Inc. But only about 35 percent of the more than 95,000 miles of U.S. coastal waters have been mapped using modern methods. g used to map the ocean floor accurately and less expensively using high-tech sonar equipment. So traditionally surveys are done with a typical vessel that goes out, has a lot of people on board, has a lot of diesel fuel that's burning. With a Saildrone, you don't have the people You are using the wind for propulsion, and really, that makes it very environmentally friendly and gives us a very long endurance to stay outside and reach  ger the farthest parts of the ocean which allows us to map down to over 7,000 feet deep, so over 23,000 feet below the surface,” Connon said.  Sonar is sound in the ocean." Sound travels and hits the ocean floor and then comes back, and we receive it. It is that time difference, taking into account the speed of sound in water, that allows us to determine the depth of water under the sailboat,” Cannon said.  Accurate mapping of the oceans can also aid in navigation and natural resource management, but there are hopes it could help save lives with better storm surge predictions.
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                                                            <p>Saildrones are autonomous vehicles that work in the ocean off the coast of Florida.

They are helping us understand climate change, hurricanes and forecasting.

Much of the destruction caused by hurricanes comes from storm surge, but it’s hard to predict.

Advances in storm surge prediction could come from better information about the ocean floor.

Hurricane winds aren’t the only thing that affects storms. Katrina was a Category 3 when it made landfall in Louisiana, but had a 28-foot storm surge.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has provided a map showing inundation from a 23-foot wave.

NOAA estimates that in coastal communities on the Gulf and East Coast, a 23-foot surge can inundate 67 percent of highways, nearly half of all railroad tracks, 29 airports, and virtually every port in the Gulf Coast area .

“The topography of the ocean floor is a boundary condition for storm surge models because essentially if there is some type of change in slope or if there are features on the ocean floor, when that storm hits shore and pushes the water, those features or that slope could really change the way the water moves,” said Brian Connon, vice president of ocean mapping at Saildrone Inc.

But only about 35 percent of the more than 95,000 miles of US coastal waters have been mapped using modern methods.

Now unmanned surface vehicles called Saildrones are being used to map the ocean floor accurately and less expensively using high-tech sonar equipment.

“A Saildrone is a unique wind-powered vehicle that is a long-lasting vehicle. So traditionally surveys are done with a typical vessel that goes out, has a lot of people on board, has a lot of diesel that is burning With a Saildrone, you don’t have people You’re using the wind for propulsion, and really, that makes it very environmentally friendly and gives us a very long endurance to stay out and get to the furthest parts of the ocean which allows us to map up to over 7,000 meters deep, so over 23,000 feet below the surface,” Connon said.

Sonar is sound in the ocean.

“Sound travels and hits the ocean floor and then comes back, and we receive it. It is that time difference, taking into account the speed of sound in water, which allows us to determine the depth of the water beneath the boat at sail,” Cannon said.

Accurate mapping of the oceans can also aid in navigation and natural resource management, but there are hopes it could help save lives with better storm surge predictions.

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