78 An Overview of ULM Participation in the VORTEX-SE Field Program

Tuesday, 8 November 2016
Broadway Rooms (Hilton Portland )

Handout (12.1 MB)

Through a collaborative grant proposal with Mississippi State University and North Carolina State University, the University of Louisiana at Monroe (ULM) participated in the Verification of the Origins of Rotation in Tornadoes Experiment - Southeast (VORTEX-SE) Spring 2016 field campaign as one of five funded rawinsonde teams.  ULM participated in six of the seven intensive observing periods (IOPs), launching a total of 30 weather balloons.  Exactly one (EF-2) tornado developed within the dense observational network over north Alabama in year 1, during the late evening hours of 31 March of IOP 3.  Severe and non-severe mesoscale convective systems and non-tornadic supercells were also observed over the course of the project.  A boundary layer heterogeneity experiment was also conducted on the last day of operations during IOP 7 on 1 May.

This presentation will provide an overview of the ULM sounding dataset as it stands within the larger framework of the project.  A special focus will be made on the environmental evolution leading up to the development of the lone tornado during IOP 3.  Observations indicate low-level destabilization and a distinct increase of low-level vertical wind shear during the afternoon-to-evening transition preceded tornadogenesis.  A total of six ULM undergraduates were afforded the opportunity to participate in the field campaign.  In addition to the science overview, this presentation will provide a summary of the educational benefits provided to students by participating in the project.  Finally, thoughts on how to proceed for future observing programs of severe storms in the southeastern United States will be given.

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