May 10, 2012
In an age where anyone with a cell phone can become an “I-reporter”, it is easy to capture and find impressive images of violent weather events. However, documenting and capturing meaningful data in the vortex of a tornado to learn more about these powerful storms is no easy task – and certainly is best left to trained professionals.
Tornado field research is extremely difficult and can be dangerous, notes Dr. Tanya Brown, IBHS research engineer, who led a VORTEX2 (Verification of the Origins of Rotation in Tornadoes EXperiment) team for Texas Tech University in 2009 and 2010. Dedication to science drives team members to strive for accuracy, but the motivation to act quickly in the field often comes from adrenaline generated when a “tornado is over your shoulder,” said Dr. Ian Giammanco, IBHS research scientist, who also led Texas Tech teams in both phases of VORTEX2.