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Electromagnetic Detection of Tornadoes

Award Information
Agency: Department of Commerce
Branch: N/A
Contract: N/A
Agency Tracking Number: 37753
Amount: $50,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: N/A
Award Year: 1997
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): N/A
Award End Date (Contract End Date): N/A
Small Business Information
46 Kendal Common Road
Weston, MA 02193
United States
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Ralph J. Markson
 () -
Business Contact
Phone: (617) 899-1834
Research Institution

The ultimate objective of this project is to develop an instrument capable of remote detection and location of tornadoes and/or storms containing tornadoes. There are many reports, both scientific and anecdotal, suggesting that tornadoes and tornadic thunderstorms emit anomalous electromagnetic (EM) radiation-both RF and luminous. This radiation is characterized by unusually high rates of EM pulses, sometimes organized into bursts. One objective is to determine if a recognizable EM pattern is associated with tornadoes compared to a different pattern emitted by larger thunderclouds. The investigations possible because of a unique single station aircraft total lightning (intracloud and cloud-to- ground) mapping system. This sensing technique provides the first reliable method for detecting and positioning total lightning with a single sensor. Because tornadoes occur in an unpredictable fashion over large regions, the aircraft chase capability will greatly enhance the possibility of bringing the sensor within range of tornadoes. The data obtained in Phase 1 will be used to design an operational EM Tornado Detector in Phase 2. This device's first use will be to enhance NOAA's tornado sensing instrumentation suite. Subsequently, the sensor could be used alone, or in combination with other instruments, operationally to provide tornado warnings.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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