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LiveScience Contributions


The Texas Tech VORTEX 2 team was featured in a record-breaking six articles for National Science Foundation’s LiveScience online initiative, marketed towards U.S. adults 18-54 who are intellectually curious about science and technology. The first article entitled “Behind the Scenes: Students Venture into Hearts of Violent Storms,” which highlighted the StickNet instrumentation and previous severe thunderstorm and hurricane intercepts, was released exactly one month before VORTEX 2 kicked off. An additional LiveScience article entitled “Scientists Get in Path of Tornado” was released in August 2009, and featured a photo of Texas Tech University team members and IGERT Trainees Ian Giammanco and Frank Lombardo making a deployment with the LaGrange tornado looming down on them.

Please see the following links to view these stories:

LiveScience also profiled three of our researchers – Dr. Chris Weiss, Ian Giammanco, and Sarah Dillingham. Dr. Weiss is an assistant professor in Atmospheric Science and the Principal Investigator for Texas Tech’s involvement in the VORTEX 2 project as well as an advisor in the NSF IGERT program in Wind Science and Engineering. Dr. Weiss has been participating in field research since his time as a graduate student at the University of Oklahoma, where he worked under one of the most recognized names in the world of meteorology, Dr. Howie Bluestein. During VORTEX 2, Dr. Weiss coordinated the efforts of all four StickNet vehicles and TTUKA-1 mobile radar, while also serving as the navigator and recorder for StickNet team 1.

Ian, a then fourth-year PhD student in Wind Science and Engineering, had previously participated in Texas Tech’s field research in Projects WIRL (Wheeled Investigation of the Rear-Flank Downdraft Lifecycles) in 2004-2005 and MOBILE in 2006-2008. He is also the Field Coordinator for the Texas Tech University Hurricane Research Team (TTUHRT) and has been participating in hurricane deployments since 2003. During VORTEX 2, Ian served as the vehicle leader for StickNet team 3, and was also responsible for instrument maintenance and repairs and radio communications.

Sarah, a then first-year masters student in Atmospheric Science, was participating in her first organized field research program, but she had plenty of experience handling the StickNet instruments. Early on in her career here, she took an interest in the field instrumentation and learned how to maintain and repair the StickNets and participated in much of the testing and preparation leading up to VORTEX 2. She is even using StickNet data captured from Project MOBILE 2008 for her master’s thesis. During VORTEX 2, Sarah was a member of StickNet team 3, and served primarily as their navigator and recorder, but was also used in several deployments as well. Each of these team members was instrumental in the first phase of VORTEX 2 and each provided a unique viewpoint on their experiences in scientific research and their perspectives on our field research campaigns. All three will be returning for phase 2 of VORTEX 2, beginning May 1st, 2010.

Please see the following links to view their profiles:

Address Goals

The Texas Tech series of articles featured in are designed reach a wide audience of Americans who are interested in learning more about science and technology. The goals of VORTEX 2 are to collect data from within a supercell thunderstorm, to better understand the near-storm environment and its effects on tornadogenesis. With this kind of understanding, scientists hope that they will be better able to forecast tornado occurrences, and improve warning times, so people have time to take shelter, and to decrease false alarm rates.