Researchers learning about the science behind active weather
KITCHENER -- Information on tornadoes and other active weather in Canada is readily available this summer, thanks to a group of researchers.
There have been 36 confirmed tornadoes in Canada so far this year. Southern Ontario has also seen plenty of active weather in 2020.
Behind the blowing wind and driving rain is science.
"When something is damaged in a tornado, that for us is data," said Greg Kopp with the Northern Tornadoes Project.
The group is comprised of engineers and meteorologists from Western University. Their goal is to count and analyze every tornado in Canada.
"There's a couple main tasks we have," researcher Aaron Jaffe said. "The first is to determine whether it was a tornado that happened or some sort of straight line wind event like a downburst."
A ground team is sent to survey damage after someone reports strong winds. They also watch storms on radar.
Researchers were on the ground in Palmerston on Wednesday. There was damage in the area from a EF Zero tornado on Tuesday afternoon.
"This year's been busy," Connell Miller said.
"It's pretty eye-opening the first time you're at an event and you see a barn that's just totally destroyed, like debris everywhere," said Jaffe. "But, it's really, really satisfying to help people."
The project started in Ontario in 2017.
"Ontario averages about 12 tornadoes a year," Kopp said. "We think that is really under estimated, which is part of the reason for this project. We think there's actually three or four times the number of tornadoes occurring."
The project went national in 2019, using satellites for remote places.
The researchers hope the data will uncover Canada's true tornado climatology.
"So that we can get better at improving our warning system so that people can be safer in these storms," Miller said.
Anyone who thinks they saw a tornado touch down can send photos, videos and eye witness accounts to the project.