March 18, 2011
The purpose of VORTEX2 – to discover the origins of tornadoes in order to better predict where storms will pop up, determine severity, and in turn, improve alert systems.
One year ago, more than 100 scientists and 40 support vehicles embarked on the most ambitious effort ever to understand the origin and evolutions of tornadoes. Among them was a Texas Tech group of 18 faculty, staff and students led by Christopher Weiss, associate professor of atmospheric science. Together, they experienced the strength of nature’s forces, while gathering the most comprehensive severe weather data ever collected.
The project was known as Verification of Rotation in Tornadoes EXperiment2 or VORTEX2. The purpose – to discover the origins of tornadoes in order to better predict when and where storms will pop up, determine how severe they will be, and in turn, improve alert systems by increasing warning times. The National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration contributed more than $10 million toward this effort.
A 70 mm camera also came along for the ride, and the end result is a heart-pounding science adventure now showing on the big screen in “Tornado Alley.” In it, viewers will see the beauty and power of Earth’s most extreme weather phenomena.
Texas Tech researchers work to solve the mystery of the tornado after a 6-week journey across the Great Plains.
Wind researchers kick off the second part of the largest tornado study in history.