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The Second Verification of the Origins of Rotation in Tornadoes Experiment: VORTEX2


The second Verification of the Origins of Rotation in Tornadoes Experiment (VORTEX2), which had its field phases in May and June of 2009 and 2010, was designed to explore i) the physical processes of tornadogenesis, maintenance, and demise; ii) the relationships among tornadoes, tornadic storms, and the larger-scale environment; iii) numerical weather prediction and forecasting of supercell thunderstorms and tornadoes; and iv) the wind field near the ground in tornadoes. VORTEX2 is by far the largest and most ambitious observational and modeling study of tornadoes and tornadic storms ever undertaken. It employed 13 mobile mesonet–instrumented vehicles, 11 ground-based mobile radars (several of which had dual-polarization capability and two of which were phased-array rapid scan), a mobile Doppler lidar, four mobile balloon sounding systems, 42 deployable in situ observational weather stations, an unmanned aerial system, video and photogrammetric teams, damage survey teams, deployable disdrometers, and other experimental instrumentation as well as extensive modeling studies of tornadic storms. Participants were drawn from more than 15 universities and laboratories and at least five nations, with over 80 students participating in field activities. The VORTEX2 field phases spanned 2 yr in order to increase the probability of intercepting significant tornadoes, which are rare events. The field phase of VORTEX2 collected data in over three dozen tornadic and nontornadic supercell thunderstorms with unprecedented detail and diversity of measurements. Some preliminary data and analyses from the ongoing analysis phase of VORTEX2 are shown.

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