NASA to fly aircraft from Fort Drum to study weather patterns during eclipse

FORT DRUM, N.Y. (WWTI) – Fort Drum and NASA are teaming up to gain more knowledge about weather during a total solar eclipse.

NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, will use Uncrewed Aircraft Systems to gather atmospheric data during the upcoming eclipse to advance understanding of the Earth’s atmosphere during sudden changes in weather.

During the total solar eclipse on Monday, April 8, researchers from Langley will fly UASs specifically modified to collect atmospheric measurements before, during, and after the eclipse to measure meteorological differences. The team will work closely with collaborators from the World Meteorological Organization, National Center for Atmospheric Research, and the University of Albany who will launch weather balloons to gather measurements during the same timeframe.

Flying to a maximum of nearly two miles in altitude, the aircraft’s measurements will provide vertical modeling of temperature, relative humidity, pressure, and wind for testing an alternative data collection method to using traditional weather balloons.

Data from the project will help to further the understanding of the Earth’s energy balance. The event has the potential to assist in more accurate forecasts of sudden weather influencing events such as volcanic eruptions and smoke from wildfires.

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