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Development of the Hurricane Imaging Radiometer (HIRAD) Using a Systems Engineering Approach

Robbie Hood*, Ruba Amarin, M.C. Bailey, Peter Black, Mark James, James Johnson, Linwood Jones, Boon Lim, Christopher Ruf, Karen Stephens, and Vanessa Rohwedder

*(corresponding author) NASA Marshall Space Center Code: VP61, 320 Sparkman Dr., Huntsville, AL 35805 USA 256-961-7959 (V), Robbie.Hood@nasa.gov (E)

Accurate observations of ocean surface vector winds (OSVW) with high spatial and temporal resolution are critically important to improve both our understanding and predictability of tropical cyclones. As the successful NASA QuikSCAT satellite continues to age beyond its planned life span, many members of the tropical cyclone (TC) community of practice (CoP) recognize the need to develop new observational technologies and strategies to meet the essential need for OSVW information. A collaborative team consisting of personnel from NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC), NOAA Hurricane Research Division (HRD), RTI International, the University of Central Florida and the University of Michigan are currently investigating airborne and spaceborne options for incorporating passive microwave technology into an overall observing strategy for OSVW.

The team is developing an instrumentation concept called the Hurricane Imaging Radiometer (HIRAD) using initial investment funding from NASA MSFC to be followed by proposals for competed, peer-reviewed funding. The HIRAD team is using a systems engineering approach by matching new emerging technologies to the observational requirements of the operational forecasting members of the TC CoP. The NOAA and academic partners are considered essential members of the HIRAD systems engineering team so that the most innovative, practical, and beneficial solutions may be found to meet the needs of both research investigators and operational decision makers.

The strategic plan for HIRAD includes a roadmap for ocean surface wind speed and OSVW technology development and flight demonstrations on piloted aircraft, uninhabited aerial vehicle systems, and small, special purpose satellite platforms. The roadmap will include exit opportunities for technology transfer from NASA to NOAA for operational implementation based on satisfactory demonstrations. This presentation will discuss the technological heritage of the HIRAD concept and how it compliments an overall observing strategy for OSVW that could also include active microwave and lidar remote sensing technologies and traditional in situ observations.

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