NORMAN, OKLA. – University of Oklahoma scientists led by Michael Biggerstaff, OU School of Meteorology professor, deployed a Shared Mobile Atmospheric Research and Teaching (SMART) weather radar south of Mobile, Alabama, in advance of the landfall of Hurricane Sally. There they measured the structure of the winds in the hurricane boundary layer, the lowest mile of air above the ground.
The project was funded by the National Institute for Standards and Technology to capture the vertical profile, duration and gustiness of extreme winds in an effort to improve building codes to mitigate damage to homes and commercial buildings.
As of Wednesday, Sept. 16, the team has conducted 24 hours of continuous observations.
“Never before have radar-derived total winds been collected for so many hours within the same portion of a hurricane,” said Biggerstaff. “Since stability of the boundary layer changes with solar heating and nocturnal cooling, this long data record will allow our group to study how changes in the ability of atmosphere to transport higher energy air from aloft to the surface changes the potential for damage from these severe windstorms.”