Have you heard about the newest and most unique way that researchers are tracking and forecasting hurricanes? Scientists are using sharks and other large marine life to help predict the formation and course of hurricanes.1
Researchers from the University of Miami have tagged 750 marine animals in the past ten years or so to track temperature and salinity of sea waters at different depths. With satellite-linked sensors, the researchers receive data from the sharks when they surface from dives. The information received is important for tracking and projecting hurricanes and forecasts. For example, some tarpon studied were following a line of water that was 79 degrees. The same temperature of water these fish preferred matches a minimal preference for tropical storms. Knowing the temperature of water and ocean energy that is available to fuel a storm is critical to predict the strength and development of storms.
This research is in an early stage of development, but it will be interesting to see how it develops and the role it will play in hurricane forecasting. We could call it hurricane forecasting by the locals!
It seems like early on in the hurricane season those of us that live in hurricane zones review the predictions to see what lies ahead in the upcoming months. I always remind everyone how important it is to stay prepared each hurricane season and to treat each one like there could be a major hurricane whether the forecast appears to call for one or not. After all:
[A]s they say about sharks, it’s not the ones you see that you have to worry about, it’s the ones you don’t see.
– David Blaine.
1 Could Sharks Help Researchers Predict Hurricanes? (Last viewed 6/22/14) http://www.wtsp.com/story/weather/hurricane/2014/03/13/2056390/