BOULDER, Colo., April 29 (UPI) — More than 100 scientists will soon spend six weeks on the road across the U.S. Great Plains in what’s called the most ambitious tornado study in history.
The effort — called Vortex2 — is designed to surround tornadoes with an unprecedented fleet of mobile radars and sensitive instruments to examine in detail how tornadoes form, their patterns of damage and how to improve severe weather forecasting.
The May 1-June 15 international project involves scientists from the National Center for Atmospheric Research, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, Environment Canada, Pennsylvania State University, Texas Tech University, Lyndon State College, Purdue University, North Carolina State University and the universities of Oklahoma, Colorado, Massachusetts and Nebraska.
The researchers said the project covers the most active part of the U.S. tornado season on the Great Plains, where violent twisters are more common than on any other place on Earth.
“Tornadoes rank among the most destructive weather events on Earth, and it’s imperative that we learn more about how they develop and why some are so powerful and long-lived,” said David Dowell, an NCAR scientist who is one of the project’s principal investigators.
The first Vortex project was conducted in 1994 and 1995 and its findings are credited with improving National Weather Service tornado warnings.
The $11.9 million program is funded primarily by the National Science Foundation and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
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