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China Uses Solar-powered Submersible to Detect Typhoon

Aug 06, 2020

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 Wednesday.

Developed by the academy's Institute of Atmospheric Physics, the vehicle is called Marine Weather Observer-3 (MWO-3) and 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 the island province of Hainan earlier this month, the MWO-3 passed through the typhoon center and transmitted real-time data, including sea surface temperature, wind speed, and wind direction, through China's self-developed BeiDou satellites.

This is the first time that scientists anywhere 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. (Xinhua)

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