May 6, 2009

Vortex 2 Tornado Research Blog

Track field experiences of scientists over month-long quest to understand tornadoes

VORTEX2, or Verification of Rotation in Tornadoes Experiment 2, is the largest attempt in history to study the origin, structure and evolution of tornadoes.

Now, members of the public can follow live reports from scientists involved in the project, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and NOAA.

Atmospheric scientist Josh Wurman of the Center for Severe Weather Research in Boulder, Colo., a participant in Vortex 2, has started a blog, allowing members of the public an inside glimpse of the action.

Although the project is not scheduled to start until May 10, 2009, frantic preparations are already underway to move the crews and their equipment into the field.

Some of the questions the teams hope to answer include:

How, when and why do tornadoes form?  Why are some tornadoes violent and long-lasting, while others are weak and short-lived?  What is the structure of tornadoes?  How strong are the winds near the ground and how exactly do they do damage?  How can we learn to better forecast tornadoes?

For daily updates on progress on VORTEX2, including photos and video from the field, follow Josh Wurman's blog, http://tornadoscientists.blogspot.com/.


Image Caption: The Doppler-on-Wheels can go where few instruments have gone before, near tornadoes. Credit: Center for Severe Weather Research