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Press Release 05-162

Number of Category 4 and 5 Hurricanes Has Doubled Over the Past 35 Years

Sea-surface temperatures are also on the rise

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New Orleans houses are swamped by floodwaters after Hurricane Katrina.

New Orleans houses are swamped by floodwaters after Hurricane Katrina.

Credit: Liz Roll

 

Debris is scattered on the beach in Biloxi, Miss., after Hurricane Katrina.

Debris is scattered on the beach in Biloxi, Miss., after Hurricane Katrina.

Credit: FEMA/Mark Wolfe

 

NSF supports the RAINEX program to better understand hurricane intensity.

Predicting hurricane direction has improved immensely over the years, but predicting hurricane strength and intensity is still imprecise at best. NSF supports the RAINEX program to better understand hurricane intensity, which can drastically change in a stretch of hours. Scientists fly through the storms in airplanes equipped with Doppler radar and parachuting instruments to measure humidity, wind speed, direction, temperature, atmospheric pressure and more. The RAINEX project is unique in its attempt to simultaneously measure the hurricane eye and swirling rainbands to learn how the two interact and impact a hurricane's intensity.

Credit: Nicolle Rager Fuller, National Science Foundation


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