Twice a day on Bermuda—and at weather stations around the world—meteorologists launch huge helium or hydrogen-filled weather balloons equipped with sensors that monitor temperature, moisture, and pressure in the atmosphere. The data generated by balloon launches are then transmitted globally by weather services and assimilated into computer models, which meteorologists use to forecast the weather.
This fall, BIOS intern Aamna Jangda, 22, a student from Houston Community College, is working for 11 weeks with researchers at BIOS and the Bermuda Weather Station to integrate data from Bermudian weather balloons, surface weather observations, and underwater measurements from underwater gliders, moored instruments, and floats to run a computer model that predicts the maximum potential intensity of a hypothetical hurricane.
“Living in Houston, I’ve experienced many hurricane scares throughout my life, so when I read about this project, I immediately took interest,” Jangda said. Hurricanes, although very destructive, are a fascinating phenomenon, she said. “Throughout history they’ve both awed and terrified humans,” she said. “Now, with growing technological advancements, we have the resources available to study hurricanes more in depth than ever before, and the chance to be a part of that research sparked my interests. The study that I’m working on, combined with many studies that have been done in the past, could give us a better understanding of the potential intensity of hurricanes, which could lead to better forecasting in the future.”