Sunday, June 6, 2010

Vortex2: Most ambitious tornado study in history

One of the biggest projects ever to study tornadoes has been launched by an international team of researchers. The research will be carried out by over 100 scientists in possibly the most ambitious tornado study in history.

The study, named Vortex2, will go on until mid-June across the U.S. Great Plains in a bid to discover a way to improve tornado forecasts and warnings. A range of technology is being used to gather data such as enhanced mobile radar and weather-sensing equipment as normal observing networks and radar have difficulty with the atmospheric conditions that lead to a tornado.

According to BBC News, Dr David Dowell, one of the project’s principal investigators, also a scientist for the US National Center for Atmospheric Research, said, “Tornadoes rank among the most destructive weather events on Earth. It’s imperative that we learn more about how they develop and why some are so powerful.”

The project, costing $12 million, will use 12 mobile radars to trace winds and precipitation both in and around the tornadoes. Other equipment includes 36 weather stations, weather balloons and hopefully an unmanned aircraft and the scientists involved will spend the whole six weeks of the study on the road, following severe weather.

This sounds like an exciting and informative piece of research that may really help in the endeavours to predict severe tornadoes which has to be a good thing. We’d be interested to hear what you think, so why not let us know.

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