Session 5.1 The 2007 and 2008 MOBILE Experiment: Development and testing of the TTU StickNet platforms

Monday, 27 October 2008: 7:45 PM
North & Center Ballroom (Hilton DeSoto)
Christopher C. Weiss, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX ; and J. L. Schroeder

Presentation PDF (321.3 kB)

A number of investigators have indicated the need for a dense network of in-situ storm-scale observations in proximity to supercell thunderstorm updrafts and downdrafts. Such observations are generally too hazardous to make in entirety with manned instrumentation, but are required to properly address existing theories of tornadogenesis and, further, the validation of the kinematic and thermodynamic fields in storm-scale NWP models.

To address this need, researchers at Texas Tech University (TTU) have developed 24 StickNet platforms – portable, versatile, rapidly-deployable probes measuring standard atmospheric state variables (temperature, specific humidity, pressure, wind) at high frequency (up to 0.1 Hz). The initial platforms were developed over the span of two years in conjunction with the TTU Wind Science and Engineering Research Center. Load testing verifies that the instrumented tripods can withstand 3-second gusts of 63 ms-1 (140 MPH) before encountering the first failure mode, making their use viable for a number of research objectives in extreme land-based and marine-based convection.

The first part of the paper will focus on the specifications and controlled testing of the StickNet platforms. The second portion of the paper will detail the initial results of field testing during the Multiple Observations of Boundaries in the Local Storm Environment (MOBILE) Project that was carried out during the spring months of 2007 and 2008. Over these two years, a number of samples of the near-mesocyclone environment were obtained from pre-tornadic and tornadic storms. In the presentation, a small portion of the discussion will also include the logistics of StickNet deployment, both in the context of MOBILE and the upcoming VORTEX2 project.

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