Scientists have used a solar-powered unmanned submersible to obtain real-time observation data of Typhoon Sinlaku, sources with the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) said on August 5.
Developed by the academy's Institute of Atmospheric Physics, the vehicle called Marine Weather Observer-3 (MWO-3) is a semi-submersible. It is a key part of a typhoon observation program led by the China Meteorological Administration.
Chen Hongbin, chief scientist of the submersible program, said the MWO-3 is equipped with meteorological and ocean observation sensors. When Typhoon Sinlaku was near China's southern island province of Hainan earlier this month, the MWO-3 sailing at a sea area near the typhoon center collected and transmitted such real-time data as sea surface temperature, wind speed and wind direction, through China's home-developed BeiDou satellites.
This is the first time that scientists anywhere in the world have used a solar-powered unmanned submersible to carry out observations in the center of a typhoon. The trial shows that the submersible can obtain meteorological data in real-time over an optimal area of the ocean which could previously not be monitored by traditional methods, such as buoys, said Chen.
According to its developer, the unmanned submersible will play an important role in typhoon forecasts, warnings and research.