At Ocean Today, a program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), we enhance people's understanding of the ocean realm—from the deep sea to the upper atmosphere—through enticing multimedia that illustrates both the ocean's influence on them and their influence upon the ocean. This enhanced understanding is called "ocean literacy."
With that objective in mind, we set out to create a video that would highlight the brave and important work of NOAA's hurricane hunters, taking the viewer along for a ride into a hurricane formed over the ocean. We also wanted to showcase career opportunities in science and aviation, particularly at NOAA, and the amazing airplanes and instruments that NOAA uses to gain a better understanding of each hurricane.
The video was planned and implemented by a very small team of video producers/editors at NOAA Ocean Today in collaboration with NOAA's Office of Marine and Aviation Operations. Our target audience was middle school students, teachers, and parents. The video was also designed to appeal to a general audience.
Few people will ever get to ride aboard a hurricane hunter aircraft, but our video took full advantage of great footage both inside and out of the P-3 turboprop and G-IV jet captured by NOAA and the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) to take viewers on a virtual ride. We also decided to include sound bites from an actual hurricane hunter pilot, Richard Henning, to give the audience a better idea of what it's actually like to ride in one of these aircraft and what the mission involves.
We also wanted to showcase the science involved by highlighting the instruments used during a mission and how collecting that data helps further science and save lives, both in terms of predicting the landfall and intensity of the current hurricane and enhancing understanding of future storms.
We published the video on the NOAA Ocean Today website and YouTube and social media channels at the beginning of the 2022 hurricane season, capitilizing on interest in the topic from the general public. The Office of Marine and Aviation Operations also published the video on their own social media channels to promote hurricane preparedness.
Since publishing in May 2022, the video has received nearly 190,000 views on YouTube, more than 6,000 views on Twitter, more than 3,500 views on our website, and more than 1,000 views on Facebook. The majority of our views on YouTube occurred in the weeks following Hurricane Ian through organic search.
Additionally, we have shared the video with nearly 60,000 educators through the Ocean Today network, the National Marine Sanctuaries, and the Planet Stewards teacher listserv, thereby reaching a new generation of pilots and oceanic and atmospheric scientists.
It's also viewable at nearly three dozen museums and aquariums across the world, including the Smithsonian's Natural History museum, which had nearly four million visitors in 2022. NOAA's Office of Marine and Aviation Operations also offers it as background to media members.
The courage of NOAA's hurricane hunters helps further hurricane science and save lives and we were thrilled that thousands of people were able to view their important work through this amazing footage.