Jonathan Merage Foundation partnership to improve tornado forecasting

Aiming to improve severe weather forecasting and warning lead-times associated with front range thunderstorms over northeastern Colorado, the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) and Jonathan Merage Foundation have expanded their partnership. Improvements in Colorado’s thunderstorm forecasting rely on innovative data from its Lightning Mapping Array (LMA) network. The network is comprised of 12 stations north of Denver that monitor lightning activity. The new gift will enable the construction and installation of six additional sensor stations around and south of Denver, expanding the LMA network to cover the Denver Metro Area and improve severe weather forecasting for the most densely-populated area of Colorado.

“Not only will this project allow us to provide better information to the Colorado community about incoming and potential severe thunderstorms,” said Professor Steven Businger, chair of the Atmospheric Science Department in SOEST and project lead, “but it will allow scientists to study and refine relationships between lightning information and the tornadic potential of thunderstorms. It will allow us to better predict dangerous storms and improve lead-times for tornado warnings, which has the potential to save lives.”

In addition to the new LMA collaboration, the Jonathan Merage Foundation has funded another year of investigation into long-range lightning data. The project is funding a postdoctoral student in Businger’s lab. This effort will improve predictions of the track and intensity of tropical cyclones.

Read the full story at UH News.