Spotlight - Vortex 2 Summer 2010

Scientists to track twisters in world’s largest tornado study

Vortex2 weather balloon launch

Photo:  NCAR scientists and technicians will launch weather balloons at VORTEX2 with their Mobile GPS Advanced Upper-Air Sounding System. Shown here are (left to right) William Brown, Jennifer Standridge, and Tim Lim testing a balloon launch (Photo by Carlye Calvin.) [ENLARGE]
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NCAR & UCAR News Center
April 28, 2010

BOULDER—More than 100 researchers will begin deploying a flotilla of instruments across the Great Plains next week, aiming to surround tornadoes with an unprecedented fleet of mobile radars and other cutting-edge instruments in the second and final year of the most ambitious tornado study in history.

The collaborative international project, involving scientists from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and a number of other organizations, examines in detail how tornadoes form and the patterns of damage they cause. The findings are leading to a greater understanding of tornadoes, and scientists expect they will ultimately improve tornado warnings and short-term severe weather forecasts.

The field campaign, known as VORTEX2 (Verification of the Origins of Rotation in Tornadoes Experiment 2), runs from May 1 to June 15. It covers the most active part of tornado season on the Great Plains, where violent twisters are more common than any other place in the world.

In addition to NCAR, participants include the Center for Severe Weather Research, Rasmussen Systems, NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory, NOAA Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies at the University of Oklahoma, The Pennsylvania State University, University of Oklahoma, Texas Tech University, Lyndon State College, University of Colorado, Purdue University, North Carolina State University, University of Illinois, University of Massachusetts, University of Nebraska, Environment Canada, and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

[Read the full story from UCAR ]