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  • A group of Stony Brook students getting the weather balloons ready for a past storm on January 28, 2022. The instruments are tied to strings attached to the balloons, including a parachute and GPS system that provides the location of the balloon. Around 8 kilometers (5 miles), the communication drops off and contact is lost with the system. Photo Courtesy of Brian Colle.

    Planning, Coordinating and Communicating: The Science Behind Winter Storm Chasing Experiments

    As the snowstorm headed through New York on February 24, one professor at Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, New York spent the hours leading up to it preparing his students to head right into the storm.

  • IMPACTS team

    IMPACTS 2022: NASA Planes Fly into Snowstorms to Study Snowfall

    NASA’s Investigation of Microphysics and Precipitation for Atlantic Coast-Threatening Storms (IMPACTS) mission, which began in January and is planned to wrap up at the end of February, has seen upwards of 10 flights so far.

  • Storm Chasing Scientists Fly Into the Clouds to Understand Winter Snowstorms

    Imagine the feeling of flying on an airplane. Smooth sailing, clear skies, not a cloud in sight. It’s a relaxing ride that many take for work or recreational travel. Now imagine flying through clouds, with the turbulence of different intensities. While some sink and hold onto their seats, others view it like a rollercoaster ride with their adrenaline pumping. Christian Nairy and Jennifer Moore know a thing or two about that.

  • IMPACTS 2022: NASA Planes Fly into Snowstorms to Study Snowfall

    Goddard Media Studios reports on IMPACTS - watch their video chronicles of our February 3rd science flight!

  • IMPACTS Media Day 2022

    PI Lynn McMurdie and pilots Rod Turbak and Greg “Coach” Nelson answer questions about IMPACT. Watch the YouTube video here.

  • Up, Up and Away!

  • Up, up and away: Launching Balloons in a Blizzard

    Andrew Janiszeski and Troy Zaremba blow up a weather balloon in a dark hotel lobby. The weather was calm last night when they drove into Plymouth, Massachusetts, but this morning a blizzard is raging outside. Snow is piling up in the hotel parking lot, wind gusts are near 70mph, and the power is out – but they have a job to do.

  • Stony Brook University Students Participate In IMPACTS Program

    During the worst of the blizzard, a group of Stony Brook University students and their professors braved the high winds and pummeling snowfall for the greater good - to improve winter storm forecasting.

  • Blizzard Blankets Northeast U.S. in Snow

    While millions of people hunkered down below, a small team of NASA-funded scientists flew over and into the storm to make measurements and better understand the evolution of winter storms. The multi-year Investigation of Microphysics and Precipitation for Atlantic Coast-Threatening Storms (IMPACTS) mission is the first comprehensive study of snowstorms across the Eastern United States in nearly 30 years.

  • Scientists at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center fly planes into winter storm

    As Marylanders buckle down for the winter storm this weekend, scientists at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. are sending planes directly into the storm.The team of storm-chasing scientists is flying two NASA planes equipped with scientific instruments to investigate how winter storms form and develop.One plane will fly above the storm and the other will fly within the clouds.

  • NASA planes fly into snowstorms to study snowfall

    The team is tracking storms across the Midwest and Eastern United States in two NASA planes equipped with scientific instruments to help understand the inner workings of winter storms as they form and develop. The team is flying two aircraft to investigate winter storms, one above the storm and one within the clouds.

  • NASA Planes Fly Into Snowstorms To Study Snowfall

    Scientists repeatedly check the weather forecasts as they prepare aircraft for flight and perform last-minute checks on science instruments. There’s a large winter storm rolling in, but that’s exactly what these storm-chasing scientists are hoping for.

  • NASA Is Sending Planes Straight Into Snowstorms to Report on the Weather

    It takes two planes to discover more about snowstorms.

    NASA is known for getting creative with its airplanes even producing models with no windows. But perhaps, its most impressive planes are the ones that can fly into snowstorms.

    These types of planes, according to NASA, are used to report the weather and they are part of the space agency's Investigation of Microphysics and Precipitation for Atlantic Coast-Threatening Storms (IMPACTS) mission based at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

  • NASA planes dive into snowstorms to study snowfall

    Scientists repeatedly check weather forecasts as they prepare for flight of aircraft and make last-minute checks of scientific equipment. Big winter storms are rushing in, which is exactly what scientists chasing these storms want. The team is tracking midwestern and eastern US storms on two equipped NASA planes. Scientific instruments Helps you understand how Winter storm As they are formed and developed.

  • NASA planes fly into snowstorms to study snowfall

    The team is tracking storms across the Midwest and Eastern United States in two NASA planes equipped with to help understand the inner workings of as they form and develop. The team is flying two aircraft to investigate winter storms, one above the storm and one within the clouds.

  • NASA Planes Fly into Snowstorms to Study Snowfall

    Scientists repeatedly check the weather forecasts as they prepare aircraft for flight and perform last-minute checks on science instruments. There’s a large winter storm rolling in, but that’s exactly what these storm-chasing scientists are hoping for.

  • Así es como un avión de la NASA busca advertir las tormentas en Carolina del Norte

    La Administración Nacional de Aeronáutica y del Espacio (NASA) utilizó un avión espía para inspeccionar y mejorar los pronósticos de nieve. Se trató del N809NA que despegó la mañana del miércoles 19 de enero del aeródromo Pope Army en Fayetteville, Carolina del Norte.

  • Did you see it? NASA uses retired spy plane to survey, improve snow forecasts

    If you looked up early Wednesday afternoon and noticed an unusual looking white aircraft high up against the clear Carolina blue skies, you caught a rare glimpse of a spy plane-turned science platform for NASA.

  • Snow is difficult to measure, but technology is providing new ways to determine how much snow is falling from the sky

    With snow expected this week, you probably have a shovel handy and are keeping an eye on road conditions, but scientists see snow days as an opportunity to learn a lot and even predict future weather events.

  • Team From NASA Flies Into the Heart of Winter Storm

    There hasn’t been much snow this year but that’s not stopping a team from NASA from flying into the heart of a winter storm. NBC10’s Tim Furlong joined them for the ride.

  • Scientists Chase Snowflakes During the Warmest Winter Ever

    INSIDE A CAVERNOUS hangar at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility along the Virginia coast, a gleaming white P-3 Orion aircraft sits parked under harsh floodlights. It’s just after midnight and a group of scientists, technicians and graduate students cluster underneath a wing, peering at a 5-inch crack in one of the ailerons that the pilot uses to maneuver the plane.

    Their disappointment is palpable. The eight-person team was preparing to board the research aircraft for a 10-hour flight through a massive snowstorm stretching across upstate New York and Canada as part of a new project funded by NASA to dissect the inner workings of winter storms. The researchers want to know how the bands of snow form, why some storms produce snow and others don’t, and why certain conditions lead to ice crystals, while others cause snowflakes. Their ultimate goal is better winter forecasts for the 55 million residents of the Northeast, and improved weather models that can be used for the rest of the US. NASA has dubbed the three-year study IMPACTS, or the Investigation of Microphysics and Precipitation for Atlantic Coast-Threatening Snowstorms.

  • NASA Launches In-Depth Snow Study—First in 30 Years

    The last time NASA carried out an in-depth study of winter storms in the heavily populated Northeast, the Berlin Wall had just come down and George H.W. Bush occupied the White House. That changed in mid-January when a team led by University of Washington researcher Lynn McMurdie began a six-week campaign to better understand how snow bands form and evolve.

  • Winter Storm Research Gets a Local Helping Hand

    Winter snow in the Northeast is quickly catching up with death and taxes in terms of guarantees. We may catch a lucky break every now and then (see: current winter) but more often than not, we get quite powdery from December to March - sometimes in November and April too! While much of the country turns white during the winter, we along the eastern seaboard are more susceptible to really big snows thanks to our ocean proximity. Land-originating systems like Alberta Clippers typically move through rapidly, and thus leave us with minor accumulations. Cold fronts can sometimes cause headaches, but warmer air riding up ahead of them is also a limiting factor (that rain/snow line loves to play games with us forecasters.) But coastal storms (often Nor'easters) pack an extra punch. They usually contain a lot more moisture, and when they interact with arctic air coming down from Canada, you can get a winter wonderland in a hurry.

  • New NASA 'Snow Chaser' Plane Prepares for Takeoff to Improve Weather Forecasts

    WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. – It is pretty to look at, but at times, treacherous to encounter: when snowstorms wreak havoc on the ground, it can come with a cost. Yet, because of limited research, snowstorms are not as well-understood as other weather phenomenon. That’s about to change. Inside a noisy hangar at NASA’s Wallops Island facility in Virginia sits a specially outfitted P-3 aircraft, also known as a “snow chaser.” “Snow can have a huge economic impact,” said Lynn McMurdie, principal investigator for a new research project called IMPACTS. “To be able to fly inside the clouds, where the snowflakes form, enables us to study the processes that go into forming the snowflakes that eventually fall down to the earth as snowfall in your backyard.”

  • NASA Snow-Chasers Fixed to Travel Into Winter Storms to Inquire The Inner Workings

    With snow undermining access to streets, work, and school, snowfall is one of the essential winter climate marvels on the U.S. East Coast. It’s likewise one of the hardest to anticipate.This month NASA is sending a group of researchers, a large group of ground instruments, and two research airplanes to consider the internal activities of blizzards. The Investigation of Microphysics Precipitation for Atlantic Coast-Threatening Snowstorms, or IMPACTS, has its first arrangement in a multi-year field crusade from January 17, 2020, through March 1, 2020. It will be the exhaustive primary investigation of East Coast blizzards in 30 years.

  • NASA Taps Snowstorm-Chasing Team To Improve Forecasting

    NPR's Ailsa Chang speaks with Lynn McMurdie, a University of Washington professor and principal investigator for IMPACTS, NASA's new project to more accurately predict snowstorms. 

  • NASA Wallops to Help in Study to More Accurately Predict Snow Storms

    This month NASA is sending a team of scientists, a host of ground instruments, and two research aircraft to study the inner workings of snowstorms. The Investigation of Microphysics Precipitation for Atlantic Coast-Threatening Snowstorms, or IMPACTS, has its first deployment in a multi-year field campaign from Jan. 17 through March 1. It will be the first comprehensive study of East Coast snowstorms in 30 years. 

  • NASA Snowstorm Study Will Send Planes Inside of East Coast Storms

    For many of us, a few inches of snow can be a nuisance, or at the very least keep us from getting to work on time. The worst part about impending snowstorms, however, is when we have no idea how much snow we're going to get during a given snowfall event. Meteorologists often give us an estimation of what we're up against with the fluffy precipitation, but the work that goes into bringing viewers an idea of whether they should call in to work or get out the shovel is hard, frustrating stuff. Many snowstorms actually can't be observed closer than what modern instruments already allow, thanks to parts of storm clouds that scientists just don't know much about. Luckily, NASA is putting together a snowstorm study meant to help improve these types of forecasts by, well, learning more about said clouds. NASA's latest venture is called the Investigation of Microphysics and Precipitation for Atlantic Coast-Threatening Snowstorms, or IMPACTS. The team is looking to understand how "ribbons" of snow clouds, otherwise known as snow bands, form and change as they bring snowfall to areas on the East Coast. The idea is to get an understanding of how they form right down to the ice crystals inside.

  • NASA Near-Space Airplane Touches Down in Savannah

    A high-flying NASA research plane arrived Wednesday at Hunter Army Airfield to begin a two-month mission of collecting data on East Coast snowstorms. One of NASA’s two Lockheed ER-2 flying laboratories — capable of reaching altitudes of over 68,000 feet — was flown from its base in Palmdale, California to Savannah, touching down at sunset. The advanced aircraft, similar to the Lockheed U-2 spy plane, will be stationed at Hunter through the rest of winter to carry out research for the space agency’s three-year Investigation of Microphysics and Precipitation for Atlantic Coast-Threatening Snowstorms (IMPACTS).

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