Advertisement

NASA to Study East Coast Snowstorms from Va. Skies

NASA has announced it will use Wallops Island Flight Facility, just south of Chincoteague Island, as a jumping-off point to study Atlantic snowstorms starting in January.

It’s the first major field campaign to study East Coast snowstorms in 30 years.

The Investigation of Microphysics and Precipitation for Atlantic Coast-Threatening Snowstorms (IMPACTS) study will send a high-altitude aircraft (flying from Savannah, Georgia) and a cloud-sampling aircraft (flying from Wallops Island) to look closer at how snow is distributed in the clouds.

Advertisement

NASA explains that the “cloud processes” responsible for snowstorms are difficult to measure, and forecast models can’t reproduce them very well. That makes for poor snowfall predictions.

“People see pictures of these big swaths of clouds and think they’re snowing everywhere, but they’re not,” said IMPACTS principal investigator Lynn McMurdie at the University of Washington in Seattle. “Inside the clouds are these long narrow regions of more intense snow bands. We’re trying to understand why they form and how they evolve with the developing storm.”

Since the last time East Coast snowstorms were studied from the air, instruments have become much more advanced. NASA says now is “an ideal time to conduct a well-equipped study to identify key processes and improve remote sensing and forecasting of snowfall.

Advertisement

NASA’s ER-2 and P-3 aircraft will fly for three six-week deployments.

-Meg Walburn Viviano

Share

Recent Stories

Isaias Spawns Tornadoes, Flooding in Bay Region

Most people in the Chesapeake region are breathing a sigh of relief now that the…

August 4, 2020

VIDEO: Potomac Riverkeeper Celebrates 20th with Goal to Lift Swim Ban

The Potomac Riverkeeper Network believes keeping the public informed about water quality is key to…

August 4, 2020

Donated Wood from St. Michaels Tree Used in New Md. Dove

Shipwrights at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum (CBMM) are steadily working away at the new…

August 3, 2020

How to Protect Your Boat in Hurricane Season

The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season was predicted to be above average, and sure enough, named…

August 3, 2020

Hard-Hit Virginia Destinations Receive Major Tourism Funding

To help some of the Bay’s most beloved destinations bounce back after feeling the effects…

August 3, 2020

White Marlin Open Underway with Changes due to COVID-19 and Isaias

Ocean City's 47th White Marlin Open, the world's largest billfish tournament, has officially begun with…

August 3, 2020