Inside a Category 4 Hurricane

For the first time ever, a remote-controlled ocean drone sailed into the eye of a category 4 hurricane to help researchers understand one of the most extreme weather conditions on Earth.

The 'saildrone' was navigated through 50-ft waves and more than 120-mph winds within Hurricane Sam (which never made landfall), on September 30, 2021. Scientists hope to use the data and video footage to learn more about what drives and intensifies hurricanes. With more information, predictions can become more accurate, and hopefully save lives and coastal communities from hurricanes in the future. This is increasingly important as research has shown that climate change, driven by human activity, is already causing more destructive hurricanes.

The vessels are created by Saildrone, which has partnered with NOAA to collect data. There are currently 5 ‘hurricane’ saildrones in the Atlantic Ocean, and they have also been used to explore the Arctic and Southern Oceans.