National Tornado Experiment Begins

By: http://www.nssl.noaa.gov/vortex2/
By: http://www.nssl.noaa.gov/vortex2/

The Verification of the Origins of Rotation in Tornadoes Experiment 2 (VORTEX2) is the largest and most ambitious field experiment in history to explore tornadoes.VORTEX2 is supported by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF). Nearly 100 scientists and students from sixteen different universities and various other academic organizations in the United States are expected to take part in the experiment. VORTEX2 will also involve forecasters from the NOAA National Weather Service (NWS) forecast offices, the NOAA Storm Prediction Center, Environment Canada, the Australia Bureau of Meteorology and Finland.

The VORTEX2 teams will be looking to understand how, when and why tornadoes form. Answers to these questions will give researchers a better understanding of tornadoes and should help increase warning time for those in the path of these deadly storms.

VORTEX2, or V2, will use cutting-edge communication and computer technologies to deploy a fleet of approximately 40 vehicles to create an observational network in and around a tornadic supercell thunderstorm. The "armada" of mobile weather instruments will roam the southern and central Plains from May 10-June 13, 2009 and again in 2010. VORTEX2 teams will also collect data with the NSSL Phased Array Radar (PAR) in central Oklahoma and with unmanned aerial systems (UAS) in northwest Kansas when tornadic storms are expected in those areas. Any severe weather observed by the VORTEX2 teams will be reported in real-time to local NWS forecast offices to help protect lives and property.

Results from the previous VORTEX field program (in 1994-1995) were shown to have improved NWS tornado warnings during the late 1990s. The scientists, students, and professional forecasters participating in V2 are hopeful that as we improve our understanding of tornado formation, that new understanding of these violent storms will again translate into improved tornado forecasts and warnings during the next decade.

V2 is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Partners include:

Rasmussen Systems
The Center for Severe Weather Research (CSWR)
National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL)
Penn State University (PSU)
The University of Oklahoma (OU)
OU Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies (CIMMS)
The University of Colorado (CU)
North Carolina State University (NCSU)
Texas Tech University (TTU)
National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)
Lyndon State College
University of Massachusetts
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Environment Canada
University of Nebraska (UNL)
Purdue University
Australian Bureau of Meteorology
Finnish Meteorological Institute


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