Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Weather Channel's Cantore Experiences 3-D Tornado Simulation at Virginia Tech

09.02.2015

Re-creating a tornado in 3-D provides a more effective way to study storms

When The Weather Channel meteorologist Jim Cantore stepped into an EF-5 tornado re-created in 3-D in a four-story immersive installation at Virginia Tech, his perspective was that of someone 7,000 feet tall.


Virginia Tech

The Weather Channel's Jim Cantore using a headset that shows a virtual reality style view of the activity in a tornado.

Beneath him was the landscape of Moore, Oklahoma. Around him was the storm that killed 24 people in May 2013.

With support from Virginia Tech’s Institute of Creativity, Arts, and Technology, a student and faculty team from the geography department in the College of Natural Resources and Environment created the storm in the Moss Arts Center facility known as the Cube — a highly adaptable space for research and experimentation in immersive environments.

Cantore was tipped off by Kathryn Prociv, a Virginia Tech geography graduate who is now a producer at The Weather Channel.

She had been a storm chaser with the Virginia Tech team for three years before completing her master’s degree research on the effects of changes in land surfaces on rotating storm intensity in the Appalachian Mountain region.

When Prociv asked her former instructor Dave Carroll what was happening at her alma mater, he told her about the tornado re-creation in the Cube. Cantore promptly made arrangements to visit, accompanied by Greg Forbes, The Weather Channel’s severe weather expert.

Real weather delayed the visit a few months, but on Feb. 6 Cantore was immersed in the re-created storm and broadcasting live.

The project was born when Bill Carstensen, a professor and head of the Department of Geography, told Benjamin Knapp, director of the Institute of Creativity, Arts, and Technology, about Carroll’s 3-D images of storms.

Subsequently, a $25,000 Science, Engineering, Art, and Design grant from the institute made it possible to hire Kenyon Gladu of Troutville, Virginia, a junior majoring in meteorology, and Trevor White of Henrico, Virginia, a master’s student in geography.

Gladu worked with radar data and White did the programming to retrieve the needed NEXRAD (Next-Generation Radar) data and render it appropriately. Institute staffer Run Yu of Beijing, China, a computer science doctoral student in the College of Engineering, placed the storm in the cube.

“We decided to produce that tornadic supercell because it was a catastrophic event,” said Carroll. He was south of Moore with the Virginia Tech storm chase team at the time it occurred. The team members can often safely position themselves within a mile of a storm, but not in that instance.

“It formed in the suburbs of Oklahoma City. We couldn’t engage the storm because of the hazards in that environment — traffic, people fleeing,” he said. “We had to back off.”

“People on the ground could not observe that storm from all angles and directions,” said Carstensen. “But NEXRAD radar captured data throughout the storm. It provided hundreds of thousands of data points in 3-D with several attributes at each data point, including the intensity of precipitation and the direction and speed of floating particulates.

“Our meteorology degree program ties in geospatial science with weather data — to meld atmospheric data with ground data. Geospatial science can register ground data — the rolling hills of Oklahoma and the land cover, such as agriculture, prairie, forests, and urban development. So in this re-creation of the Moore storm, there is the land cover on the ground and the storm above in perfect position.”

The Cube allows complete tracking of where a subject is standing, moving, and looking. An Oculus head-mounted display provides an image of what the subject would see from any vantage point. If there are two people in the cube, they will see each other as avatars and will be able to see different points of view and exchange information.

“Eventually, you will be able to zoom in, to control the scale of what you see,” said Carstensen.

“It’s like a game environment in which you are embedded in the computer,” explained Carroll. “You can then study storms from different perspectives than in the field. You can peel away the outer layers of rain so you can see the business end of the storm. It is a more effective way of looking at storm structure.”

“It will be a valuable tool for researchers, forecasters, and students,” said Carstensen.

The ultimate goal is to bring real-time radar into the Cube — “real time” in this instance being only a four- or five-minute delay. Carstensen and Carroll met with Mike Kleist, a Virginia Tech mathematics graduate who is now vice president of engineering at Weather Services International (WSI), a weather graphics software company.

“Mike said real time was absolutely doable,” said Carstensen. “We could visualize the whole East Coast, or any place that has been mapped, overlain by a snow storm, or a storm surge model.”

“This has great potential for emergency managers,” said Carroll.

Contact Information
Lynn Davis
540-231-6157
davisl@vt.edu

Lynn Davis | newswise
Further information:
http://www.vt.edu

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Reversing cause and effect is no trouble for quantum computers
20.07.2018 | Centre for Quantum Technologies at the National University of Singapore

nachricht Study suggests buried Internet infrastructure at risk as sea levels rise
18.07.2018 | University of Wisconsin-Madison

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers

A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.

The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A smart safe rechargeable zinc ion battery based on sol-gel transition electrolytes

20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Reversing cause and effect is no trouble for quantum computers

20.07.2018 | Information Technology

Princeton-UPenn research team finds physics treasure hidden in a wallpaper pattern

20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>