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VORTEX2: Verification of the Origins of Rotation in Tornadoes Experiment

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Sean Waugh in the NSSL vehicle bay

V2: What's New for 2010?

Join Sean Waugh on a tour of the NSSL vehicle bay as he explains what's new for 2010.

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SMART-R vehicle

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V2 Armada on the road

VORTEX2: The Ultimate Science Project

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What is VORTEX2?

The Verification of the Origins of Rotation in Tornadoes Experiment 2 (VORTEX2) is the largest tornado research project in history to explore how, when and why tornadoes form.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) are supporting more than 100 scientists and students and staff from around the world to collect weather measurements around and under a supercell thunderstorm.  VORTEX2 teams are using a fleet of 10 mobile radars, and 70 other instruments all equipped with cutting-edge communication and computer technologies.  Much about tornadoes remains a mystery, and researchers hope this data will help them better understand tornadoes and lead to further improvements in tornado warning skill.

In 2009, the VORTEX2, or V2, "armada" roamed more than 10,000 miles across the southern and central Plains from May 10–June 13, 2009.  Data were collected on 11 supercells, including one tornadic supercell.

VORTEX2 research teams made science history by strategically deploying all instruments on a tornadic supercell.  Detailed data were collected from 20 minutes before the tornado formed until it faded away.  This tornado is now the most intensely examined tornado in history. VORTEX2 operations for 2010 are scheduled from May 1- June 15.

Results from VORTEX2 will be evident in the coming years as researchers study the collected data and use it to enhance cloud models needed for the new warn-on-forecast effort.

V2 is funded by the National Science Foundation offsite link warning (NSF) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration offsite link warning (NOAA). Partners include: