Researchers are about to embark on a new research project aimed at understanding the relationships between severe thunderstorms and how tornadoes form across the Great Plains with the goal of improving forecasts.
The upcoming project, Targeted Observation by Radars and Unmanned Aircraft Systems of Supercells, or TORUS, will be discussed during a news conference followed by a public open house.
The TORUS project involves more than 50 researchers using 20 tools to measure the atmosphere, including unmanned aircraft systems, mobile radars and NOAA’s WP-3D Orion “Hurricane Hunter” aircraft. Fieldwork will be conducted May 15 to June 16 throughout a 367,000-square-mile area of the Central Great Plains from North Dakota to Texas and Iowa to Wyoming and Colorado.
Researchers test unmanned aircraft systems for measuring the lower atmosphere, potentially improving short term weather forecasts
Researchers from NOAA’s National Severe Storms Laboratory, The University of Oklahoma, University of Colorado and Meteomatics have begun a project to test the value of airborne, mobile observing systems for observing important changes in the local environment that can spawn severe thunderstorms.
During EPIC, the Environmental Profiling and Initiation of Convection field project, researchers will deploy fixed-wing and rotary small Unmanned Aircraft Systems today through May 20 at and near the Department of Energy’s Southern Great Plains site in Lamont, Oklahoma, and at a second site near an Oklahoma Mesonet station chosen each day. Timing and location of activities will be coordinated with the NOAA National Weather Service Norman Forecast Office, which will be receiving data from the instruments in real time for evaluation.
During the news conference, researchers will discuss their operational plans and project goals. Equipment on display will include the three systems being deployed:
Meteodrone rotary UAS from Meteomatics
CopterSonde rotary UAS from The University of Oklahoma
TTwistor fixed-wing UAS from the University of Colorado
News conference to discuss operational plans and project goals
10 a.m., Friday, May 12
National Weather Center
Ceremonial Drive (circle drive by the flagpoles)
120 David L. Boren Blvd., Norman, Oklahoma