Questions

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What is data?

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What are two inventions that scientists use to study hurricanes?

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Why is it important for scientists to study hurricanes?

Studying Hurricanes

Scientists study hurricanes for two reasons. First, they want to learn what causes hurricanes. Second, they want information to help them guess what a hurricane is going to do next. This is called forecasting. Scientists need to be able to forecast how fast the wind will be and where the hurricane will go. Then they are able to warn people who live in the path of the storm.

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To study a hurricane, scientists need to get close to it and gather huge amounts of data (information). They must gather the data quickly, and they must study it quickly, using computers. The job is hard, and it can be dangerous.

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Here is some of the information that scientists collect from the hurricane:

 

• The speed and direction of the wind.

 

• The temperature of the air inside and outside the hurricane.

 

• The temperature of the ocean below the hurricane.

 

• The amount of water that's in the air inside the hurricane.

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It isn't easy for scientists to collect all this data, but they have some special tools to help them. Weather airplanes use an invention to gather data about hurricanes. This invention collects data from inside a hurricane.

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The invention that collects data from inside a hurricane is called a sonde.

 

A sonde is a special kind of tube that holds tools for measuring weather. The sonde is dropped from a plane into the hurricane. The sonde pictured here flies through the hurricane's clouds, it measures the temperature of the air at many levels. It also measures the speed of the wind. Then, when the sonde drops into the sea, it measures the temperature of the water at different levels below the surface.

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 The sonde uses radio signals to send all the data back up to the plane

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The second invention is Doppler radar. A Doppler radar machine on a this satellite  sends out radio waves that can measure hurricanes when they are still far away.

 

When the Doppler waves hit something, they bounce back to the satellite.

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A computer measures the signals as they come back to the satellite. These signals tell scientists how far away the object is. Doppler radar can tell how fast a hurricane is moving.

Doppler radar show the size and shape of hurricanes. It can also tell which direction the hurricane is going. It can even tell how much water is in hurricane clouds many miles away.