By developing a network of surface sensors to monitor hurricane intensity over the northern Pacific Ocean, NASA hopes to gain a higher resolution of data on hurricane strength in the area. The network will reportedly incorporate components of the National Lightning Detection Network as lightning is an indicator of the strength of convection, thus the intensity of the entire system:
The sensors are able to monitor lightning strikes from a distance of thousands of miles, allowing scientists to investigate with greater accuracy how lightning produced within a hurricane’s eyewall is tied to the changing strength of that hurricane.
“There are very few observing systems that offer a broad view of a storm over the open ocean where hurricanes tend to build or lose strength,” said study lead author Kirt Squires. “This development is essential to improving the way meteorologists can look at a growing storm to judge just how harsh it will be.”
Researchers are planning on publicizing this new project in American Meteorological Society journal Monthly Weather Review.