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XKCD Tornado Hunters

VORTEX2: Verification of the Origins of Rotation in Tornadoes Experiment

Meet the VORTEX2 Team

Note: Information about specific vehicle and instrument teams may be found here.


Participating organizations

Steering committee

Howard Bluestein, University of Oklahoma
Howie Bluestein is Professor of Meteorology at the University of Oklahoma. Dr. Bluestein is fascinated by all sorts of weather phenomena, particularly those of a violent nature. His research interests are the observation and physical understanding of weather phenomena on convective, mesoscale, and synoptic scales.
Don Burgess, OU/CIMMS
Don Burgess is a retired federal research meteorologist and now part-time with OU/CIMMS. Burgess pioneered the concept of "nowcasting" by using radar to direct an NSSL research team during a tornado intercept and lead the discovery of the "tornado vortex signature" seen in radar displays.
David Dowell, NCAR
Dr. Dowell has had a long-time interest in tornadoes and other storms, always with an eye toward better understanding of the internal structure of tornadoes and ultimately learning more about how they form.
Paul Markowski, PSU
Dr. Markowski's current research interests includes using mobile, dual-Doppler radar observations to better understand the processes associated with tornadogenesis and its failure.
Erik Rasmussen, Rasmussen Systems
Dr. Rasmussen lead the original VORTEX field project, and formed Rasmussen Systems to host a variety of research and consulting activities. Rasmussen's severe weather research is supported by NSF.
Yvette Richardson, PSU
Dr. Richardson's research interests include convective storms and their interaction with mesoscale features in their environments, tornadogenesis, radar observations of tornadic thunderstorms, convective initiation, and numerical modeling
Lou Wicker, NSSL
Dr. Wicker was part of the collaboration that developed the Shared Mobile Atmospheric Research and Teaching Radar (SMART-Radar) and is passionate about increasing our understanding of tornadogenesis, supercell processes and severe storms, and then help get that knowledge applied to real world problems.
Joshua Wurman, CSWR
Dr. Wurman designed the Doppler On Wheels mobile radars to observe tornadoes, hurricanes and other phenomena from close range. He is President of the Center for Severe Weather Research located in Boulder, Colorado.
Scientists and their vehicles

Principal Investigators

(In roughly alphabetical order)

Center for Severe Weather Research
Joshua Wurman
Karen Kosiba
MWR-05XP radar vehicle in the field

photo courtesy Jeff Snyder

Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies
Don Burgess
Lyndon State
Nolan Atkins
National Center for Atmospheric Research
George Bryan
David Dowell
Glen Romine
Roger Wakimoto
Morris Weisman
NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory
Mike Coniglio
Pam Heinselman
Ted Mansell
Dave Rust
Louis Wicker
Conrad Ziegler
VORTEX 95 balloon launch
NOAA Warning Decision Training Branch
Jim Ladue
Mike Magsig
North Carolina State University
Matt Parker
Penn State University
Paul Markowski
Yvette Richardson
Jeff Trapp
Rasmussen Systems
Erik Rasmussen
Texas Tech University
Chris Weiss
University of Colorado
Brian Argrow
Jack Elston
Eric Frew
Katja Fredrich
Rapid-DOW radar vehicle
University of Massachusetts
Steve Frasier
University of Nebraska at Lincoln
Adam Houston  
University of Oklahoma
Mike Biggerstaff
Howie Bluestein
Katherine Kanak
Jerry Straka
Ming Xue

VORTEX2 International Principal Investigators

Environment Canada
Neil Taylor
David Sills

Other Significant Partners to work in operations or field

VORTEX 95 Jerry Straka and Bob Davies-Jones
NOAA Earth System Research Lab
Curtis Alexander
Stan Benjamin
Tracy Lorraine-Smith
Steve Weygandt
NOAA National Weather Service Norman, Okla.
Mike Foster
NOAA National Weather Service San Diego, Calif.
Jim Purpura
NOAA Storm Prediction Center
National Center for Atmospheric Research Earth Observing Lab (MGaus mobile soundings systems)