Taiwan to track Typhoon Megi with radiosondes

Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau will attempt to track an approaching typhoon on Monday, the day before the storm is forecast to sweep through the island, the bureau said Sunday.

It will undertake a six-hour observation mission starting at 5 a.m. when an aircraft takes off from Taichung Airport to drop radiosondes with parachutes into the peripheral winds of Typhoon Megi and along its projected course, the bureau said.

The mission will be the 76th time Taiwan has carried out a typhoon observation project with parachuted radiosondes. The project, named "Dropwindsonde Observation for Typhoon Surveillance near the Taiwan Region (DOTSTAR)," is also known as "Wind Chasing."

According to the weather bureau, the mission will be performed by an Astra jet airplane, which will fly up to an altitude of 13,000 meters before releasing the parachute radiosondes.

The radiosondes will be dropped in areas with winds of at least 50 kilometer per hour, or up to 200 kilometers away from the eye of the storm, as well as along Megi's path to record meteorological data such as pressure, temperature, humidity, and wind direction and speed at different altitudes and send the data back to the weather bureau.

The bureau will then send the information to other weather centers around the world as a reference, it said.

Statistics show that increasing the frequency of typhoon observations with parachuted radiosondes can reduce the margin of error in predicting a typhoon's course within 72 hours of its impact by 6.5 percent, the bureau said.

As of 2 p.m. Sunday, Typhoon Megi was centered 1,040 kilometers east-southeast of Eluanbi on Taiwan's southernmost tip and was moving in a west-northwest direction at a speed of 23 kph, with gusts reaching 137 kph, according to bureau data.

Megi was expected to be 470 kilometers east of Eluanpi at 2 p.m. Monday, the bureau said.

The DOTSTAR project has been jointly run by the Central Weather Bureau, the National Applied Research Laboratories, the Taiwan Typhoon and Flood Research Institute, National Taiwan University, and state-funded Aerospace Industrial Development Corp.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel