Evolution of Tornado Technology
Name: Brittany G.
How has tornado finding technology developed over the years?
Because tornadoes have potential for large impacts and because they can occur with little advance
warning, many researchers in the scientific community have made tornado prediction a priority.
Scientists do not fully understand tornado formation, so prediction of where and when tornadoes
will occur remains difficult.
Scientists are seeking to better understand tornadoes. In the mid-1980's the National Severe
Storms Laboratory pursued a project, called Totable Tornado Observatory (TOTO), much like that
featured in the 1996 motion picture TWISTER. TOTO was a large drum filled with sensors that
was to be placed in the path of an approaching tornado. Unlike the device in the movie, TOTO
met with limited success.
Today scientists need not depend on placing equipment directly in the path of a tornado. The
doppler On Wheels (DOW) project of the University of Oklahoma in Norman and the National Center
for Atmospheric Research is a more advanced high-tech effort that scientists are relying on to
learn what happens inside a tornado. DOW is a team of sturdy trucks, each with a mobile Doppler
radar unit mounted on top. The mobility of these trucks gives them a greater ability to get into
position near a severe storm, including areas where hurricanes hit land, in order to document the
rare and extremely small-scale phenomena that make up tornadoes. The above was taken from
Microsoft Encarta 2004.
I hope that this helps.
Click here to return to the Weather Archives
Update: June 2012