NSF fuels snow hunt

An $86,000 grant from the National Science Foundation will provide SUNY Oswego meteorology faculty member Scott Steiger ’99 and his students the tools to chase the most intense snowstorms and collect first-of-its-kind data.

Meteorology Professor Scott Steiger ’99 shows images of the Doppler-on-Wheels truck and the data it will collect.

Meteorology Professor Scott Steiger ’99 shows images of the Doppler-on-Wheels truck and the data it will collect.

The grant will provide a radar-carrying truck from the NSF called Doppler-on-Wheels for the snowstorm-chasing season, and experts from Boulder, Colo., will train the students in its use in the month before startup. Jeffrey Frame of the University of Illinois, a colleague of Steiger’s with a lot of experience with the vehicle and instruments, is a co-principal investigator on the grant. 

Steiger, who spends his summers chasing tornadoes in the Midwest, forecasts little chance that this winter will be as quiet as last. He, distinguished service professor Al Stamm and up to 14 meteorology majors staffing the project should have plenty to study.

“It’s better than a tornado project, because the chance of catching a significant tornado on the ground is quite small,” said Steiger.

Data gathering will run from late December to early February this season, Steiger said. Lake-effect conditions set up early in the winter, when Lake Ontario’s waters still hold summer warmth and icy cold winds blow out of the west and northwest.

Data analysis and writing for the project will take place next spring and summer, followed by publication and conference presentations in the second year of the grant.

If the data-collection effort and results warrant, Steiger said he plans in time to apply for a larger grant, which would fund the use of aircraft and other instruments as well as the Doppler-on-Wheels.

— Jeff Rea ’71

 

Leave a Reply