Saildrone 2022 Hurricane Mission Blog

November 10, 2022

The mission has been successfully completed. Saildrone vehicles have been retrieved back to sea ports or in a process of being retrieved.

September 29, 2022

On September 28, when Hurricane Ian made landfall at the west coast of Florida, saildrone 1032 made measurements northwest of its center, with measured waves of 15 ft. On September 29, Hurricane Ian was observed again by saidrone 1059 inside its eyewall near the Gulf Stream with measured wind of 56.4 kt, gusts up to 74 kt, and significant wave height up to 28 ft. The saildrone observations were used by NOAA National Hurricane Center in its 11 pm advisory "A sustained wind of 58 mph (93 km/h) with a gust of 64 mph (104 km/h) was recently reported west of the center by a NOAA and Saildrone Inc. research mission vessel."

Peak measurements during Hurricane Ian (SD-1059) on Sep 29
Wind (m/s) Wind (kt) Gust (m/s) Gust (kt) H 1/3 (m) H 1/3 (ft)
29.0 56.4 38.0 73.8 8.6 28.2

Map of approximate location of saildrones relative to the track of Hurricane Ian

Approximate location of saildrones (stars) relatively to the track of Hurricane Ian. SD1032 is in the Gulf of Mexico and 1059 is in the western Atlantic Ocean.

Wind speed and pattern of Hurricane Ian

Wind speed (colors) and pattern (white lines) of Hurricane Ian at 19:15 UTC September 29. Blue circle shows the location of SD-1059 at that time. Red lines are its track.

September 22, 2022

Four saildones observed Hurricane Fiona during its development from tropical storm to Category 4 hurricane.

Map of approximate location of saildrones relative to the track of Fiona

Approximate location of saildrones (stars) relatively to the track of Fiona.

When Fiona was a tropical storm east of Puerto Rico on September 15, it was observed first by saildrone 1083, with measured wind speeds of 38 kt, gusts of 46 kt and wave heights above 19 feet.

On September 18, Fiona, as a Category 1 hurricane, was observed by a second saildrone (1031) inside its eyewall just south of Puerto Rico, with measured peak wind speeds of 51 kt, gusts of 66 kt and waves above 22 feet. A minimum surface pressure of 987.3 mb was recorded by this saildrone while traveling through the center of Fiona's eye. The reading was used by the National Hurricane Center in its public advisory and its forecast discussion.

Shortly thereafter, north of Puerto Rico and to the north of Fiona's eyewall, a third saildrone (1040) measured wind speeds of 47 kt, gusts of 59 kt and wave heights above 19 feet.

After Fiona became a Category 4 hurricane on September 22, it was observed by a fourth saildrone (1078), with measured wind speeds of 68 kt, gusts of 94 kt and waves above 51 feet.

The video clips taken by the saildrone show breaking waves with sea foam whipped by hurricane winds:

Time series of barometric pressure, wind speed, wind gust and significant wave height for saildrones

Time series of barometric pressure (mb), wind speed (m/s), wind gust (m/s) and significant wave height (m) for saildrones 1083 (black), 1031(blue), 1040 (green) and 1078 (purple) during Hurricane Fiona, showing the wide range of intensity of Fiona at different development stages. (View larger image)
Peak Measurements During Hurricane Fiona
SD Date Wind (m/s) Wind (kn) Gust (m/s) Gust (kn) H 1/3 (m) H 1/3 (ft)
1083 9/15/22 18 35.0 20 38.9 5.9 19.4
1031 9/18/22 26 50.5 33 64.1 6.7 22.0
1040 9/18/22 24 46.7 28 54.4 5.7 18.7
1078 9/22/22 35 68.0 48 93.3 15.4 50.5

Infrared satellite image of Hurricane Fiona

Infrared satellite image (cloud top temperature) of Hurricane Fiona at 14:32 UTC September 22. Blue triangle shows the location of SD-1078 at that time.

August 5, 2022

All seven saildrones were launched, three from St. Thomas, USVI, two from Jacksonville, FL, one from St. Petersburg, FL, and one from Port Aransas, TX.

Saildrone is towed out from port at St. Petersburg

A saildrone is towed out of the St. Petersburg port.

The saildrone launched from St. Thomas is on its way to its observing destination.

Five of the seven saildrones will be in the NW tropical Atlantic/Caribbean region and two in the Gulf of Mexico through October 2022.

Five of them have started to send data to NOAA. The other two will when they reach their respective observing destinations.

August 3, 2022

Saildrone meets ocean glider out in the water with boat in background

A saildrone met with an ocean glider deployed by the University of Georgia in the area of Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary. Photo courtesy of Dr. Catherine Edwards.

July 1, 2022

Two saildrones have been launched from St. Thomas, USVI on June 24. One more will be from there shortly.

Two saildrones will be launched from Jacksonville, FL and another two will be launched from St. Petersburg, FL in July.