An international team of researchers are embarking on what has been described as the most ambitious tornado study in history.
An array of instruments will be deployed across the US Great Plains, where violent twisters are more common than anywhere else on the planet. It is hoped that the data gathered will improve tornado warnings and forecasts.
More than 100 scientists will be involved in the study, which will continue until the middle of June…
The study, Vortex2, will use a range of enhanced mobile radars and other weather-sensing equipment in order to build up a comprehensive picture of the zones where tornadoes develop.
Researchers say that rapidly changing contrasts in wind and temperatures in an area just a few miles across can spawn a tornado in a matter of minutes.
But, they added, only a small percentage of “supercell storms” generate twisters, and standard observing networks and radars struggle to pick up the atmospheric conditions that lead to the formation of a tornado…
The study area stretches from West Texas to south-west Minnesota, covering more than 900 miles.
The researchers will not have a fixed base, spending the entire six weeks on the road following outbreaks of severe weather.
Surrounded by pilots in this family, you know I had to get this post up for the weekend.
Though, frankly, as someone who used to live on the road – in later years in regions including part of Tornado Alley – I’m as interested as any of the usual weather geeks in the family.