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


Professor Ruf Flies into Hurricane Harvey with NOAA Science Team

Posted: August 28, 2017

Professor Ruf Flies into Hurricane Harvey with NOAA Science Team Dr. Paul Chang (l), Professor Chris Ruf, Dr. Zorana Jelenak (r)

As Hurricane Harvey neared the coast of Texas, Climate & Space professor Chris Ruf was at the NOAA Airborne Operations Center in Lakeland, FL preparing to take off with the crew of a P-3 "Hurricane Hunter" aircraft. The Hurricane Hunters regularly fly through hurricanes to help forecasters and scientists gather both operational and research data, and this mission would penetrate Harvey just before it made landfall.

Professor Ruf, who leads the CYGNSS science team, has written an account of the mission on the CYGNSS NASA Earth Observatory blog:

"I had the good fortune to join the crew of the NOAA P-3 “hurricane hunter” plane that flew into Harvey on 25 Aug 2017 shortly before it made landfall in Texas. We made six pairs of eyewall penetrations. The maximum surface level winds continued to grow with each successive one as we witnessed Harvey’s rapid intensification from a Cat 2 to Cat 4 hurricane. We were able to capture much of that dynamic transition, using continuous radar and radiometer remote sensing measurements plus frequent in situ measurements by dropsondes. These will be used to help calibrate and validate our measurements by CYGNSS, which have been ongoing since Harvey first started to develop earlier in the week. Following is a description of my experience that day..." 

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