The basis of Tiltting

The proposed research plan:

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This page explains everything there is to know and understand about the project. View the full PDF version of the proposal along with interactive explanations for an easier understanding of the project.


Tornadoes are responsible for a high percentage of weather-related deaths and injuries in the United States each year, despite the fact that warning lead times have significantly improved in recent years. A large part of this is due to remaining forecasting challenges involving tornadoes, including their inception (referred to as "tornadogenesis"), track, and intensity. We will investigate differences in cloud base height at tornadogenesis between the Great Plains and the Northeast. To accomplish this, we will utilize a full array of meteorological instrumentation to collect atmospheric data in environments conducive to supercell development.

Project Description

The purpose of this research project is to better understand why tornadoes only develop in specific environments and under certain circumstances. Tornadogenesis, or the beginning stage of tornado formation, is highly dependent on many environmental parameters. Among these parameters is the cloud base, which is formally known as the Lifting Condensation Level (LCL). Previous studies examined the differences in LCL height at tornadogenesis between the Great Plains and the Southeastern United States. However, we will compare LCL heights in the Great Plains with those in the Northeastern United States. Because tornadogenesis research in the Northeast is sparse, our data collection and analyses will help fill these knowledge gaps and improve tornado warning lead times.

The image shows a tornado's life cycle, beginning with tornadogenesis and ending as a completely mature tornado on the ground.

Three Windsonds side by side

The TILTTING-23 probe that will be sent into a tornado

Methodology and strategies

For this project, we will be deploying an arsenal of meteorological instruments, including tornado probes, Windsonds, and wind-sensor systems. These instruments will assist our team in collecting vital data. The probes will gather temperature, pressure, humidity, wind speed, wind direction, and GPS coordinates. The Windsonds will allow us to acquire a complete view of the vertical profile of the atmosphere. The probes will be strapped inside a drone and flown into the tornado to gather data inside the funnel.


Below is everything that is required for a successful research operation. Each item within this table is explicitly outlined in the full PDF proposal. Click here to see the description for each item in the budget! The total budget is $34,000.

Some of the items within our budget include but are not limited to:

  • Equipment

      • Walkie talkies

      • Power Converters

      • Wifi hotspots

  • Meteorological Instrumentation

      • Kestrel 5200 anemometer

      • R.M. Young Wind Monitor

      • Windsonds

      • Our own tornado probes (TILTTING-23 probe)

  • A trip to the Great Plains

      • Fuel

      • Lodging

      • Food

to see our full budget along with descriptions of each item, click here to see the description for each item in the budget!

As a result of our research efforts, uncertainties surrounding tornado forecasting will lessen, thus mitigating the loss of life and property from these powerful natural disasters.

Donate to the Project!

Gifts are now Tax Deductible!