Targeted Observation by Radars and UAS of Supercells (TORUS)

Targeted Observation by Radars and UAS of Supercells
TORUS is a collaborative research project funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to use radars and unoccupied aircraft systems to study supercell thunderstorms

Targeted Observation by Radars and UAS of Supercells (TORUS)

What is TORUS?

The TORUS project (Targeted Observation by Radars and UAS of Supercells) involved more than 50 scientists and students deploying a broad suite of cutting-edge instrumentation into the US Great Plains. The first field season was conducted in 2019, the second in 2022, and the last, under the moniker TORUS-LItE (Left-Flank Intensive Experiment), was conducted in 2023. Led by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, TORUS also involves the University of Colorado Boulder, Texas Tech University, the NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory, and the Cooperative Institute for Severe and High-Impact Weather Research and Operations. TORUS instrumentation included unoccupied aircraft systems (drones), mobile radars, mobile mesonets (trucks mounted with meteorological instrumentation), a mobile LIDAR (similar to a radar but using an eye-safe laser), mobile sounding systems (balloon-borne sensor packages), and the NOAA P3 manned aircraft.

TORUS aims to use the data collected to improve the conceptual model of supercell thunderstorms (the parent storms of the most destructive tornadoes) by exposing how small-scale structures within these storms might lead to tornado formation. These structures are hypothesized to be nearly invisible to all but the most precise research-grade instruments. But by revealing the hidden composition of severe storms and associating it to known characteristics of the regularly-observed larger scale environment, the TORUS project could improve supercell and tornado forecasts.

Summary of Key TORUS Deployments

Map of all TORUS deployments

Keys for graphical deployment summaries for TORUS-2019, TORUS-2022, and TORUS-LItE

  1. 2019-05-17_argrow.jpg
  2. 2019-05-20_waugh.jpg
  3. 2019-05-23.jpg
  4. 2019-05-24_TTU.jfif
  5. 2019-05-26_shield.jpg
  6. 2019-05-27

  7. 2019-05-28_stechman.JPG
  8. 2019-06-02_frew.jpeg
  9. 2019-06-08_butler.jpg
  10. 2019-06-11_wilson.jpg
  11. 2019-06-13_butler.jpg
  12. 2019-06-15

  13. 2022-05-23_flournoy.jfif
  14. 2022-05-24_wilson.jpg
  15. 2022-05-30_houston.jpg
  16. 2022-05-31.jfif
  17. 2022-06-06_pounds.jfif
  18. 2022-06-07_houston.jpg
  19. 2022-06-09_axon.jfif
  20. 2022-06-11_emmerson.jfif
  21. 2022-06-12_houston.jpg
  22. 2023-05-23_debruin.jfif
  23. 2023-05-24_mcdonald.jfif
  24. 2023-05-26_faletti.jfif
  25. 2023-05-27_houston.jpg
  26. 2023-06-01.jfif
  27. 2023-06-02_brown.jfif
  28. 2023-06-09_houston.jpg
  29. 2023-06-11_rakoczy.jfif
  30. 2023-06-12.jfif
  31. 2023-06-13_debruin.jfif
  32. 2023-06-16_faletti.jfif