Targeted Observation by Radars and UAS of Supercells (TORUS)
TORUS Plans for 2023
The National Science Foundation and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have funded an additional field season for TORUS! We will be operational May 22 through 15 June. This year we will have three instead of four mission areas with particular focus directed towards the "left-flank", which is the part of the storm north of the mesosyclone. Instrumentation will once again include unoccupied aircraft systems (UAS), mobile radars, mobile mesonets, a mobile LIDAR, deep tropospheric sounding systems, and swarmsondes.
What is TORUS?
The TORUS project (Targeted Observation by Radars and UAS of Supercells) involves 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 May-June 2019 and the second was conducted in May-June 2022. 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 Mesoscale Meteorological Studies. In 2019 TORUS instrumentation included 3 unoccupied aircraft systems (drones), 3 mobile radars, 8 mobile mesonets (trucks mounted with meteorological instrumentation), a mobile LIDAR (similar to a radar but using an eye-safe laser), 3 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.
TORUS Operations Domain
In the news...
TORUS covers 9,000 miles across five states to collect storm data
Nebraska Today (8/23/2019)
Scientists Are Probing Tornadoes With Drones to Save Lives
Flying Into The Storm!
Model Airplane News (5/22/2019)
You might want to take cover if an armada of weird storm-chaser vehicles rolls into town
Omaha World-Herald (5/18/2019)
Targeted Observations by Radars and UAS of Supercells
UAS Vision (5/16/2019)
In the field...
Links to summaries of TORUS field operations will be posted here. TORUS deployments will begin in the spring of 2019.