Researchers fly into the heart of Britain's violent storms
10 May 2012
Scientists have been flying through the turbulent storms being experienced in the UK at present to try and understand what causes such extremely stormy weather. A research flight off the southwest coast of England yesterday collected valuable data that should help to improve weather forecasts and predictions of flooding following heavy storms.
NERC/Met Office Atmospheric Research Aircraft, a specially converted BAe146
Flying through such storms is the only way to collect this type of data and the research team has been carrying out similar flights over the past few months under the DIAMET project, which is funded by the Natural Environment Research Council.
Project leader Professor Geraint Vaughan from NERC's National Centre for Atmospheric Science was on board yesterday's flight, along with television crews from the BBC and Channel 4.
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 Vaughan 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 storm research flights for the DIAMET project are carried out aboard the joint NERC/Met Office Atmospheric Research Aircraft, a specially converted BAe146.
The television news reports will be broadcast tonight (10 May) - BBC1 Six O'Clock News and Channel 4 at 19:00.
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1. The DIAMET project involves researchers from the Universities of Manchester, Leeds, Reading and East Anglia working under the auspices of NERC's National Centre for Atmospheric Science and the NERC National Centre for Earth Observation. The Met Office is a project partner.
Press release: 05/12
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