Targeted Observation by Radars and UAS of Supercells (TORUS)

Targeted Observation by Radars and UAS of Supercells
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)

TORUS Plans for 2022

The COVID-19 pandemic prevented TORUS field operations in 2020 and 2021 but we are currently planning to conduct the second and final field season in May-June 2022.

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. 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. TORUS instrumentation includes 4 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

TORUS Operations Domain

TORUS operations will be conducted in the Great Plains. The blue shading indicates to operations domain in 2021, defined as areas where we have permission to operate UAS. The red area indicates the 2022 operatiosn area. Click on the image to the left to view the full size.

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
Gizmodo (6/26/2019)

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)

All news articles about TORUS...

In the field...

Links to summaries of TORUS field operations will be posted here. TORUS deployments will begin in the spring of 2019.

Follow TORUS on social media...




TORUS Experiment