An historic research project is currently ongoing in the midst of the Great Plains...a project that will hopefully allow meteorologists to gain a much better understanding of the science behind tornadoes. The following article is compliments of KUSA-TV, the NBC affiliate in Denver, Colorado.
Renowned Colorado research meteorologist Dr. Josh Wurman, in partnership with The National Science Foundation and NOAA, is among 100 scientists taking part in one of the largest and most ambitious field projects ever to collect data on tornadoes.
With the help of a unique Doppler on Wheels mobile radar vehicle (which Dr. Wurman invented), Dr. Wurman and the others are in the midst of chasing tornadoes in an effort to understand how, when and why they form.
The research project called Verification of the Origins of Rotation in Tornadoes Experiment 2 (VORTEX 2) is designed to help forecasters with more detailed and advance information such as when and where a tornado will touch down, how long it will last and how intense it will be.
From now through mid-June, the researchers will be criss-crossing Tornado Alley, hoping to strategically place hi-tech tornado tracking pods that are as durable as the black boxes carried aboard commercial aircraft. Inside each pod is a set of weather measurement instruments, as well as video capture devices.
Dr. Wurman is hopeful of recording the first-ever pictures from inside a tornado. Previous attempts, on a much smaller scale, proved unsuccessful. He's hoping this time will be different.
"Vortex is a massive unprecedented scope for a mobile project like this, of any kind, not just meteorology," said Dr. Wurman. "We have 40 to 50 vehicles zooming around the plains, over 100 scientists, 70 to 80 instruments. It's just an amazing amount of stuff that's going out into the field. It's a logistical nightmare in some sense but it's what we need to do to really get a quantitative jump in understanding tornadoes."
For more on this project please visit:
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