An Overview of CBLAST Flights into Hurricanes Fabian and Isabel (2003)

Peter G. Black

NOAA/AOML/Hurricane Research Division


Observational data sets and preliminary results are summarized for the Coupled Boundary Layer Air Sea Transfer (CBLAST) experiment with Hurricanes Fabian and Isabel (2003). The ONR/NOAA CBLAST 2003 experiment was carried out in conjunction with the NOAA/NESDIS Ocean Winds experiment for deriving a high wind scatterometer algorithm for ocean surface wind speeds. CBLAST 2003 consisted of three flight days in Hurricane Fabian and three flight days in Hurricane Isabel with two NOAA WP-3D aircraft. In addition 16 drifting buoys and six subsurface oceanographic floats were deployed in the path of Fabian 24 hours prior to the third WP-3D flight by an Air Force Reserve WC-130J aircraft. It's purpose was to obtain surface currents, ocean mixed layer observations, and surface meteorological observations concurrent with subsequent research flights. These flights generated unprecedented air-sea interaction data for diagnosing surface fluxes in gale and hurricane force winds and for input and ground truth for coupled air-sea numerical model studies of hurricane intensity change.