Dec 8, 2003
Grand Forks, ND
I wanted to give all of you a heads up of a small storm intecept project I'm participating in this Spring: PHOTEX

Photogrammetric Observation of Thunderstorms Experiment

Led by my advisors, we are using two mini-dv camcorders with digital compasses to "map" the back of the supercell. Why you ask?

Well, we simply don't know how the 3D visualization of radar data from supercells matches up with what you see in real life... especially in the rear-flank. Whether the reflectivity (precipitation) descends within or outside of the cloud plays an important role in the thermodynamic environment of the RFD/DRC.

For more on the study, check out our page at:

The site is rather small, but contains the purpose statement, goals, and operation plan.

As well as Drs. Straka and Rasmussen (my advisors), a couple of other chasers (James Ladue and Micheal Magsig) will be doing the same tasks on the inflow side of the storm.

Even with my poor education in storm theory, I will be looking forward to viewing a season's worth of data from this excellent idea---perhaps because I've spent so much time trailing storms and trying to decide how much effort should be put into closing with them...

When I was in Air Force photo intelligence, we used photogrammetric techniques for measuring movement and mass of potential targets in RVN---lots of hours spent poring over images on light tables, grateful for parallax provided by 9x18-inch spilt vertical cams and overlapping shots. I wonder if your positions will be close enough on any storms to provide such a stereo view...

Regardless, it will be wonderful to have more documented visual clues for the rear flank. Wishing all of you good luck with this project.