Hurricane Forecasts Get a Robotic Boost

Liquid Robotics
A group of wave gliders set a new distance record by traveling from San Francisco to Hawaii. (Image credit: Liquid Robotics)

Satellites and aircraft have kept watch on Hurricane Isaac as the storm sweeps toward the U.S. Gulf Coast, but floating robots could also boost future hurricane prediction by gauging ocean temperatures below the surface.

A robotic "wave glider" called Alex, made by Liquid Robotics, has begun measuring ocean temperatures north of Puerto Rico under the guidance of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, according to IEEE Spectrum. Its findings won't help forecast the intensity of today's storms such as Isaac, but its data will be tested in hurricane models to see whether it improves the results.

The floating robot has a weather station and a wave sensor capable of tracking wave directions and heights.

Other wave gliders made by Liquid Robotics have already set world records for oceangoing travel by traveling from the U.S. West Coast to Hawaii. One pair has since set out for Japan by way of the Mariana Trench — the deepest place on Earth — even as a second pair heads for Australia.

Source: IEEE Spectrum

This story was provided by InnovationNewsDaily, a sister site to Live Science. Follow InnovationNewsDaily on Twitter @News_Innovation, or on Facebook.

Live Science Staff
For the science geek in everyone, Live Science offers a fascinating window into the natural and technological world, delivering comprehensive and compelling news and analysis on everything from dinosaur discoveries, archaeological finds and amazing animals to health, innovation and wearable technology. We aim to empower and inspire our readers with the tools needed to understand the world and appreciate its everyday awe.