Wednesday, May 6, 2009

VORTEX2 - Tornado Scientists in the Plain States

Very exciting happenings in Meteorology this week. I hope you're all watching VORTEX2.

"This blog will report on the Verification Of Rotation in Tornadoes EXperiment 2, or VORTEX2 project, the most ambitious tornado field project in history. Researchers will be sampling the super-cell thunderstorms that often form over more than 900 miles of the central Great Plains in the United States."

A team out of Boulder, CO is heading out to the plains of the midwest to study tornadoes. They have a collection of some of the best equipment ever assembled for the study of tornadoes.

I'm hoping they post videos of some of their "close encounters" that you can show your students. If they post them, I'll let you know!

What fun! I can't think of a much better way to inspire young people to consider the field of Meteorology than showing a group of scientists at work out in the field.

Now, the only other question I have today is this: Did they all pack their leather belts in case they have to hitch themselves to a water pipe during a tornado? [And what movie is that alluding to?]

Click here for a great Tornado Activity.
This just might be the moment to use this mapping activity!

Migrating Sand Dunes

Listen to a PODCAST from the USGS by clicking the above link.

"Sand Dunes on the Loose Due to Climate Change
Host: Jessica Robertson

Climate change is increasing the mobility of sand dunes in the southwest, posing threats to roadways, infrastructure, human health, cultural practices of the Navajo Nation, and much more. Vegetation on dunes serves as stabilizers, but as the climate warms and precipitation decreases, there is less vegetation growth.

USGS scientist Margaret Hiza and intern Leanna Begay discuss their research to understand the dunes' plant diversity and what changes are occurring."