Department of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering in the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan


How would CYGNSS predict Isaac?

Posted: August 27, 2012

How would CYGNSS predict Isaac?

Tropical storm Isaac is predicted to grow into a hurricane on Tuesday and possibly land in the Gulf Coast, according to the National Hurricane Center. How will hurricane prediction change when CYGNSS satellites launch in 2016?

CYGNSS will measure the inner core of hurricanes, which traditional satellites can’t do because they can’t see through heavy rain into the inside of the hurricane.

“CYGNSS is designed to see through the heaviest rain and measure surface wind speeds in the inner core of hurricanes using a new technique that relies on GPS signals reflected from the ocean surface,” Principal Investigator Chris Ruf states.

“CYGNSS will also be able to observe rapidly changing inner core dynamics because it consists of a constellation of eight satellites in specially phased orbits that are designed so that at least one of them can observe any hurricane in the world every few hours,” Ruf continues.

These two factors will fundamentally improve our ability to forecast hurricane intensity.
Until then, follow Isaac on

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