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Captain Harris Halverson, NOAA
Assumes Command of NOAA Aircraft Operations Center

"Captain Randy J. TeBeest's service as the Center's Commanding Officer has been exemplary, and we thank him for his dedication and leadership," said Rear Admiral David Score, Deputy Director, NOAA Corps
Deputy Director for Operations, Office of Marine and Aviation Operations. "NOAA's Aircraft Operations will also be well-served by Captain Halverson, a proven leader who is committed to the safety and success of every mission NOAA flies on behalf of the nation." Captain Halverson was born in Minneapolis and was raised both in Minnesota and the Tampa Bay area. Upon graduation from Lakewood High School, St. Petersburg FL, in 1984, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps, and was accepted into the Naval Academy Preparatory School. He attended the U.S. Naval Academy and graduated in 1990 with a degree in oceanography. He later completed U.S. Navy flight training and was assigned to Patrol Squadron 16 in Jacksonville FL, where he flew P-3C Orion anti-submarine aircraft. He completed two 6-month deployments as aircraft commander and as Chief of Naval Operations special project (Beartrap) mission commander. Captain Halverson was nominated for Naval Aviator of the Year in 1997.

In 1998, Captain Halverson transferred to Patrol Squadron 30, where he instructed newly designated naval aviators until he completed an inter-service transfer as a lieutenant commander to the NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps in 2000. Initially assigned to the center, he qualified as hurricane aircraft commander and received the NOAA Office of Marine and Aviation Operations Employee of the Year Award for 2003. Captain Halverson also managed a project to install a tail Doppler radar system on NOAA's Gulfstream IV-SP aircraft. He has piloted NOAA hurricane hunter aircraft into more than 30 tropical cyclones, including Hurricane Sandy.

In 2008, Captain Halverson assumed the duties of executive officer of NOAA Research and was promoted in 2009 to the senior executive service position of acting director of NOAA's Office of Ocean Exploration and Research. He returned to the center in 2010 to serve as chief of its operations branch.

Captain Halverson is a graduate of both the Naval Postgraduate School's Aviation Safety Program and Harvard's Senior Executive Fellow Program. He lives in Tampa with his wife and two children.

Destination: The storm's eye
NOAA "Hurricane Hunters' at the ready

LEARN MORE: Embark on a virtual mission on a NOAA Hurricane Hunter Plane in this cool video:

2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season
2013 NOAA Hurricane Outlook

Named Storms
Winds of 39 mph or higher
Winds of 74 mph or higher
Major Hurricanes
Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher

NOAA Stories  

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Live Out Your Jacques Cousteau Fantasy with the NOAA's Livestream
~The Atlantic Wire, August 12, 2013
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is running a livestream, complete with delightful commentary, of their exploration of the deep sea. As the NOAA put it, they want to "allow the world public to ‘join’ the team in making real-time discoveries from hundreds to thousands of meters below the ocean surface." From now until August 17 you can watch the team of the Okeanos explore the ocean floor off the northeast coast of the United States.

NOAA has an online reality hit with 'Deep Sea TV'
~Associated Press (via Anchorage Daily News), August 8, 2013
WASHINGTON — Vicious fights! Stunning beauties! Surprises around every corner! Yes, it's reality TV but with a lot more depth — as much as 10,000 feet. It's live coverage of deep-sea exploration off Nantucket and tens of thousands of people are tuning in...For years, the world of the deep sea floor has mostly been the province of scientists. A handful of researchers would huddle on a ship and watch the video from below, take notes, and two or three years later write a scientific paper...Now, as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's ship Okeanos Explorer and its robotic submarine explore thousands of feet deep, the view is broadcast live, usually from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. EDT, for other scientists and everyday people to follow along to the tune of 50,000 visits...

Capt. Harris Halverson Joins The News Hour
~News Talk Florida (AM 820), August 5, 2013
In this addition of The News Hour with Dick Greco and Dan Maduri, Commander of NOAA Aircraft Operations, Captain Harris Halverson, joins the guys to talk about about a variety of topics.

Cheap, Disposable Drones Are the New Storm Chasers
~National Geographic Daily News, July 25, 2013
New drones made from disposable materials offer an inexpensive option for collecting data in high-risk environments—like measuring the speed of a wildfire or the temperature of a volcano. After use, the drones are left to decompose wherever they land. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has been using disposable and expendable unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to track high-impact weather such as tropical cyclones and hurricanes. Because of their small size, UAS can also monitor marine sanctuaries and other protected ecosystems without human interference. "We want to get the cost as low as possible, so we use these instead of manned aircraft," said Robbie Hood, the UAS program director for NOAA. "We can put them in dangerous situations, so if we do lose them, we haven't lost human life..."

Northwest scientists using drones to spy on nature
~Seattle Times, July 16, 2013
LA PUSH, Clallam County — Standing in the stern of the RV Tatoosh, Nick Morgan held aloft what looked like an oversized model airplane. As the propeller started to whirl, Morgan cocked his arm and flung the plane as if he were throwing a spear. The 4-foot-long aircraft banked gracefully and spiraled up into a cloud-streaked sky. Within seconds, it blended in among the targets it was dispatched to spy on: cormorants, gulls and murres wheeling above the tiny islands on the Washington coast where the birds nest and rear their young...

The Value of Aircraft Reconnaissance
~Max Mayfield for WPLG-TV, July 11, 2013
PEMBROKE PARK, Fla.- Kudos to the United States Air Force Reserve (USAFR) Hurricane Hunters that flew into Tropical Storm Chantal earlier this week. Both NOAA and the USAFR supply the National Hurricane Center with recon data. The USAFR does most of the operational flights while NOAA focuses primarily on research missions (the research data is also of great value to the NHC). During Chantal, the USAFR flew the operational missions. There is no doubt that satellites are considered the primary observing systems for tropical cyclone forecasters. Geostationary satellite images primarily give forecasters a continuous view of the tops of clouds. Polar-orbiting and other low-Earth orbiting satellites have a variety of sensors that can provide extremely valuable data that can penetrate the clouds, although these orbiting satellites are only available over a given area when they happen to pass over that specific area.  Satellite data is indispensable to the forecasters, but in the weak stages of a tropical cyclone, the so-called “cloud system center” and the maximum intensity provided to the NHC from the various satellite analysts can vary considerably. Aircraft reconnaissance provides in-situ data to the forecasters that is not available from satellite...






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