The best way to understand a violent storm is to fly into it...
Scientists have flown through the turbulent storms being experienced in the UK at the moment to try and understand what causes such stormy weather.
Flying through these extreme storms is really the only way to collect this information and the research team has been carrying out similar flights over the past few months under the DIAMET project, which is partly funded by the Natural Environment Research Council.
DIAMET is short for DIAbatic influences on Mesoscale structures in ExTratropical storms and aims to accurately forecast the high winds and heavy rain typical in north-west Europe.
NERC, the University of Leeds and FAAM (Facility for Airborne Atmospheric Measurements) worked together to get television crews from the BBC and Channel 4 to get on board the research aircraft, a specially converted BAe146, during a flight yesterday.
View from the FAAM aircraft.
Project leader Professor Geraint Vaughan from NERC's National Centre for Atmospheric Science was on board. He said, 'In extreme weather the condensation and evaporation of water are thought to play a crucial role in storm development. These processes transfer energy within the weather system, changing the way it develops.'
Professor Vaughn explained to the BBC's David Shukman that the research team is trying to focus on small scale processes that are not captured in current weather forecast models.
He said, 'The instruments we carry give us details of water droplets and ice particles we can't get any other way - these are very important for understanding the way a storm evolves.'
The DIAMET project is a great example of good UK research collaboration as there were several universities involved - Manchester, Leeds, Reading and East Anglia - all working together under the watchful eye of NERC's National Centre for Atmospheric Science. The Met Office is a project partner for the forecasting side of things and they, together with NERC, manage the aircraft.
If you're in the UK, the television news reports will be broadcast this evening (10 May) on the BBC1 Six o'clock News and on Channel 4 at 7 o'clock.
Posted on 10 May 2012
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