Thursday, May 14, 2009

Auntie Em! Auntie Em!

You know the movie "Twister?" Of course you do. To a meteorologist, it's one of those movies where you shake your head at some parts and want to look at with scorn, but when if it's on TBS you refuse to change the channel.

Well, a group of scientists are taking the fictional "TOTO" to heart, with a new system called "VORTEX2" (or Verification of the Origins of Rotation in Tornadoes Experiment 2, which is better than some acronyms you can find out there). With lots of funding in lots of places, their goals is to study how, when, and why tornadoes form. Over the next few weeks through the middle of June, researchers will try to locate these supercells and surround them with an plethora of instruments, such as radar, barometers, etc., to gain a three-dimensional picture of how the storms form and change. All this will be presented later this fall after they have a chance to crunch some numbers. Of course, the producers of Discovery Channel's Storm Chasers are filming these scientists in action. So if you can't get to Penn State to sit through the presentation, you could always tune in there.

Storm chasers are crazy, by the way.

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