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University of Nebraska to use drones in storm study

October 2, 2018

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — University of Nebraska researchers plan to use drones and other equipment to conduct a study on tornadoes and thunderstorms that aims to improve weather forecasts.

The researchers are helping lead the study with more than 50 scientists and students from the University of Colorado, Texas Tech University and the University of Oklahoma.

Researchers will follow storms across the Central Plains, from Texas to North Dakota and Iowa to Wyoming, in 2019 and 2020. They will use drones, a manned aircraft, trucks with meteorological instruments, weather balloons and mobile-radar systems, the Lincoln Journal Star reported.

The participants hope to expand their understanding of supercell thunderstorms, said University of Nebraska associate professor Adam Houston. He added that storm observations above the ground are very limited.

“We can collect observations on the surface, but we know very little about temperature and moisture above the surface in the storm,” Houston said. “The reason that’s important is, it fills a gap in our understanding of the thermodynamics of the storm.”

The study beginning in May is funded through a three-year, $2.4 million grant from the National Science Foundation.

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Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, http://www.journalstar.com

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