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    The Tropical Cyclone Structure-2008 (TCS-08) program is sponsored in the United States primarily by the Office of Naval Research with funding also from the National Science Foundation for shared aircraft resources. The objectives of TCS-08 address mechanisms and predictability of tropical cyclone formation, intensification, and structure change.

    Primary hypotheses address the physical mechanisms that lead to the formation of a tropical cyclone from a variety of incipient tropical disturbances. As defined in the schematic below, a combination of synoptic-scale and mesoscale processes interact during the formation of a tropical cyclone.

    The primary observation platforms are the WC-130J from the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron at Keesler Air Force Base and the Navy Research Laboratory P-3B. Each aircraft is equipped with special instrumentation to obtain in situ measurements of thermodynamic and dynamic properties at flight level, throughout vertical profiles, and at the surface. The NRL P-3 will contain the ELDORA Doppler Radar to obtain high-resolution structures associated with the evolution of deep convection during formation and intensification. Aircraft operations will be defined to make optimum use of the special capabilities of each aircraft.

    The structural changes during tropical cyclone formation and intensification involve complex dynamical and thermodynamic processes that operate over widely varying conditions from the inner core to the outer rainbands. The objectives of TCS-08 are to obtain in situ observations over the lifecycle of the tropical cyclone.
    An important component of TCS-08 is validation satellite-based tropical cyclone intensity estimates by obtaining in situ measurements of tropical cyclone intensity concurrent with satellite overpasses.