Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Return of the Pod People...

(Posted by Karen Kosiba)

The pod people (as we affectionately call them) have descended on Boulder...all 15 of them!

CSWR deploys 16 tornado pods, which are basically mobile weather stations, in the paths of tornadoes in order to get wind speed, wind direction, and temperature within the lowest 1 meter of tornadoes. As you might imagine, this not an easy task! The pods weight 120 lbs and the pod people have to wait until the last possible minute to deploy the pods. Speed is a requirement, gracefulness is not!

As scientists, we are interested in what the magnitude of the wind is near the surface so we can better understand how how these wind speeds match up with radar observations (which are >> 1 m) and what magnitude of wind speed is responsible for damage to houses, office buildings, etc.

Picture: Pod Master, Lindsay Bennett (a postdoctoral scientist from Leeds), is showing the Podettes (Andrew Arnold, Eric Robinson, Mallie Toth, and Erin Jones) how to retrieve the data collected by the pods after a huge tornado (OK--so it was really a light breeze one afternoon in Boulder).

Stay tuned for a REAL pod deployment...

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