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Media Advisory 09-012

VORTEX2 Scientists Start Blog on Tornado Research

Track field experiences of scientists over month-long quest to understand tornadoes

Photo of a tornado funnel cloud.

VORTEX2 will take nearly two dozen teams of scientists into the paths of tornadoes.
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May 5, 2009

VORTEX2, or Verification of the Origins of Rotation in Tornadoes, is the largest attempt in history to study the origin, structure and evolution of tornadoes.

Now, members of the public can follow live reports from scientists involved in the project, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and NOAA.

VORTEX2, has started a blog, allowing members of the public an inside glimpse of the action.

Although the project is not scheduled to start until May 10, 2009, frantic preparations are already underway to move the crews and their equipment into the field.

Some of the questions the teams hope to answer include:

How, when and why do tornadoes form? Why are some tornadoes violent and long-lasting, while others are weak and short-lived? What is the structure of tornadoes? How strong are the winds near the ground and how exactly do they do damage? How can we learn to better forecast tornadoes?

For daily updates on progress on VORTEX2, including photos and video from the field, follow Josh Wurman's blog,

For more coverage of VORTEX2, see


Media Contacts
Cheryl Dybas, NSF, (703) 292-7734,

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2016, its budget is $7.5 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 48,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards. NSF also awards about $626 million in professional and service contracts yearly.

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Genesis and evolution of a rain-wrapped tornado observed by VORTEX2 teams in southeastern Wyoming.
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Genesis and evolution of a rain-wrapped tornado observed by VORTEX2 teams in southeastern Wyoming.
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Photo of Doppler-on-Wheels, which can go near tornadoes.
The Doppler-on-Wheels can go where few instruments have gone before, near tornadoes.
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Photo of a Doppler-on-Wheels.
Follow the VORTEX2 tornado project on a blog; pictured here is a Doppler-on-Wheels.
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