Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

UMass Tornado Researchers Heading Back To Great Plains

Date:
May 23, 2001
Source:
University Of Massachusetts At Amherst
Summary:
University of Massachusetts tornado researchers are heading back to the Great Plains to spend tornado season testing new ways to detect and predict the swirling storms.

AMHERST, Mass. – University of Massachusetts tornado researchers are heading back to the Great Plains to spend tornado season testing new ways to detect and predict the swirling storms. UMass faculty member and tornado chaser Andrew Pazmany and graduate student Vidhya Thyagarajan conduct research with the University’s highly-regarded Microwave Remote Sensing Laboratory. Their work is funded by the National Science Foundation and the University, and is conducted in collaboration with Prof. Howard Bluestein and his graduate students at the University of Oklahoma.

The UMass team designs and constructs specialized radars, which are installed on customized pick-up trucks emblazoned with the University’s logo. The group chases tornadoes and monitors them using the truck-mounted radars and videocameras. The radar signals bounce off raindrops and flying debris, enabling scientists to track the movement of parcels of wind – some of it blowing more than 300 miles an hour.

Engineers and scientists then scrutinize the data collected, in an effort to pinpoint what meteorological conditions enable a supercell, or large rotating thunderstorm, to drop a funnel. By determining what conditions must exist for the formation of an especially fierce tornado, researchers hope to develop accurate predictions of when and where such a tornado may touch down, giving people time to evacuate.

This year, the team will introduce a long-range, three-centimeter wavelength radar, which can scan storms 80 miles away. The radar is similar to those used on ships, but has been customized to monitor extreme weather. The antenna resembles a white cone about the size of a picnic table, and is specially constructed to withstand severe weather. Inside the truck’s cab, a keyboard and joystick control the antenna scanning machinery, while a monitor provides researchers with real-time images of the storm’s location, motion, and structure. This information will help researchers detect developing storms, decide which storm to chase when there are multiple storms in the area, and approach tornadoes safely and efficiently even when the twisters are hidden in rain.

The new radar will be used in conjunction with the team’s close-range, three-millimeter wavelength radar, which is used to gather extremely detailed information within just a few miles of a storm. “The long-range radar is like using a camera, because you get a good overview of the storm activity in the area,” explained Pazmany, “while the short-range radar is like a microscope. It does not see very far away, but resolves very fine detail that you cannot get with any other existing radar.”

The team is hopeful that this year’s data from the two radars will provide the opportunity to test a new algorithm, said Pazmany. “The storms’ images, collected with the two radars at two different frequencies, can be processed with an artificial neural network to estimate quantitative properties of the storms, such as the distribution of liquid and the size of rain drops, in addition to the conventional Doppler (velocity) and reflectivity (structure) images. Essentially, we’re getting two different sets of information, which gives us a much more complete picture of tornadoes and their parent storms.”

UMass researchers say that the new long-range radar is a prototype. They are hoping to eventually establish a network of these portable radars to monitor extreme weather events.

Images and additional data are available at http://abyss.ecs.umass.edu/tornado


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Massachusetts At Amherst. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Massachusetts At Amherst. "UMass Tornado Researchers Heading Back To Great Plains." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 May 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/05/010518082334.htm>.
University Of Massachusetts At Amherst. (2001, May 23). UMass Tornado Researchers Heading Back To Great Plains. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/05/010518082334.htm
University Of Massachusetts At Amherst. "UMass Tornado Researchers Heading Back To Great Plains." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/05/010518082334.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 24, 2014) The eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, mainly known for conflict and instability, is an unlikely place for the production of fine cheese. But a farm in the village of Masisi, in North Kivu is slowly transforming perceptions of the area. Known simply as Goma cheese, the Congolese version of Dutch gouda has gained popularity through out the region. Ciara Sutton reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bill Gates: Health, Agriculture Key to Africa's Development

Bill Gates: Health, Agriculture Key to Africa's Development

AFP (July 24, 2014) Health and agriculture development are key if African countries are to overcome poverty and grow, US software billionaire Bill Gates said Thursday, as he received an honourary degree in Ethiopia. Duration: 00:36 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Higgins Breaks Record at Mt. Washington

Higgins Breaks Record at Mt. Washington

Driving Sports (July 24, 2014) Subaru Rally Team USA drivers David Higgins and Travis Pastrana face off against a global contingent of racers at the annual Mt. Washington Hillclimb in New Hampshire. Includes exclusive in-car footage from Higgins' record attempt. Video provided by Driving Sports
Powered by NewsLook.com
Storm Kills Three, Injures 20 at Virginia Campground

Storm Kills Three, Injures 20 at Virginia Campground

Reuters - US Online Video (July 24, 2014) A likely tornado tears through an eastern Virginia campground, killing three and injuring at least 20. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins