The grant, given by the National Science Foundation, will fund research on tornado-producing storms on the Plains.
Texas Tech University professor of atmospheric science Chris Weiss has received a nearly $700,000 research grant from the National Science Foundation, which will fund “Targeted Observation by Radars and Unmanned Aircraft Systems of Supercells” (TORUS).
This research is the third step of an intercollegiate research project with the University of Colorado and the University of Nebraska, which focuses on the development of new technologies and strategies that can be used to intelligently sample the atmosphere with novel in situ and radar measurements. The TORUS project will take the developed technologies and use them to gather an improved understanding and prediction of tornadoes within severe thunderstorms.
“I am very excited to begin this TORUS project,” Weiss said. “I feel we have the opportunity to gain significant new insights into how tornadoes form and it is an honor to lead this effort and represent Texas Tech.”
The research will take place during May-June of 2019 and 2020. During this time, the research team will take the two Texas Tech Ka-band mobile Doppler radars out on to the Plains – from Texas up to North Dakota – and collect integrated datasets on tornado-producing storms. They will use unmanned aircraft systems developed by the University of Colorado and mobile mesonet and ballooning platforms from the University of Nebraska and the National Severe Storms Laboratory.
“The Texas Tech National Wind Institute (NWI) has been instrumental in providing the facilities and technical support to make this project happen, Weiss said. “The strong collaborative environment within NWI and the Department of Geosciences has been a tremendous asset for advancing this research agenda.”