Friday, April 30, 2010

...and we are off!

Goodbye Mountains...Hello Great Plains!

(posted by Karen Kosiba)

After 4 days (OK--it really has been several months...) of frantic preparation, the CSWR crew is ready to get out of Dodge (Boulder).

It is time to put our systems to the test--radars, mobile mesonets, radios, tracking, etc.--before our first official mission.

By the way, it snowed again today!

Picture 1 (Left): Mallie Toth packs Erin Jones. I imagine we will unpack her by June...
Picture 2 (Right): Jeff Frame, Kristen Schuler, and DOW7. (I could not think of anything clever for this caption!)

Thursday, April 29, 2010


(posted by Karen Kosiba)

Boulder was blanketed with snow this morning. Everyone is bundled up and trying to stay warm (currently the temperature is almost 48 degrees--a heat wave!).

Aahh...springtime in Colorado--time to get on the road! We are ALMOST ready to leave...

Photo 1 (Left): Lindsay and Herb enjoy a lunchtime serenade by Justin Walker (banjo player and DOW Master). At CSWR, we dine in style.

Photo 2 (Right): German native (this is her first time to the U.S.!) Mareike Schuster enjoys a (frozen!) yogurt.

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...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Vortex2 2010 --Let the fun begin!

Welcome to Vortex2, Year 2!

(posted by Karen Kosiba)

The last minute preparations are underway for Vortex2-2010! Here in Boulder, CO, at the Center for Severe Weather Research (CSWR), we are in the process of getting our 3 radars (2 of which have been upgraded to dual-polarization/dual-frequency radars--more on that later!) and 6 pod vehicles packed and ready for the season. We have 27 crew members from across the county (and across the pond--Germany, U.K., and the Netherlands).

Everyone is excited for the season to begin--as you can tell from Herb Stein's (left) and Paul Robinson's (right) expressions of happiness (or lack of sleep)!

Follow us throughout the season to learn more about all of our adventures in the field!