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.

Related Articles


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 November 26, 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 November 26, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Antarctic Sea Ice Mystery Thickens... Literally

Antarctic Sea Ice Mystery Thickens... Literally

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) Antarctic sea ice isn't only expanding, it's thicker than previously thought, and scientists aren't sure exactly why. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
3D Map of Antarctic Sea Ice to Shed Light on Climate Change

3D Map of Antarctic Sea Ice to Shed Light on Climate Change

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 24, 2014) A multinational group of scientists have released the first ever detailed, high-resolution 3-D maps of Antarctic sea ice. Using an underwater robot equipped with sonar, the researchers mapped the underside of a massive area of sea ice to gauge the impact of climate change. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Car Park Solution for Flexible Green Energy

Car Park Solution for Flexible Green Energy

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 24, 2014) A British solar power start-up says that by covering millions of existing car park spaces around the UK with flexible solar panels, the country's power problems could be solved. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Yellow-Spotted Turtles Rescued from Trafficking

Yellow-Spotted Turtles Rescued from Trafficking

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Nov. 24, 2014) Hundreds of Amazon River turtles released into the wild in Peru. Sharon Reich 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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