Outside Oz, GLINDA reports on tornado acoustics

December 07, 2020

MELVILLE, N.Y., December 7, 2020 -- During tornado formation, sound waves are produced at very low frequencies. And if your name is GLINDA, you do not need to be in Oz to hear them.

Brandon White, at Oklahoma State University, is part of an engineering team that developed the Ground-based Local Infrasound Data Acquisition (GLINDA) system for the acoustic measurement of weather phenomena.

He will discuss its design and capabilities at the 179th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, which will be held virtually Dec. 7-10. The talk, "Infrasound measurement of tornadoes and other severe storm events at close range," will be presented at 1:10 p.m. Eastern (U.S.) on Monday, Dec. 7, as part of a session on infrasound, sounds below the human hearing range.

Many sources contribute to infrasound in the atmosphere, including earthquakes, oceanic events, and human activity. This makes it difficult to isolate the sounds of a tornado, which, once better understood, can help reduce false alarms in tornado warnings, the largest contributing factor to tornado deaths.

"From a fundamental point of view, we know that a vortex near a solid surface should produce a unique pressure fluctuation signature, which gives us good reason to expect the signature of a tornado to be unique to the structure of that tornado," said White.

The device is small and light, making it easily installed in the backseat of a storm chaser truck and allowing for measurements to be taken as close to the tornado as possible. By using it at different distances from the vortex, the OSU infrasound team will improve their knowledge of tornado infrasound production.

"This is so we can get some measurements of the signature with minimal impact on the propagation," said White, since atmospheric conditions, like wind speed and direction, can affect the range of an infrasound system.

GLINDA has already been used by media storm chasers in Oklahoma and Kansas to take data on multiple severe weather events throughout the 2020 storm season, with no encounters with the Wicked Witch of the West to note.


Main meeting website: https://acousticalsociety.org/overview-ave/

Technical program: https://acousticalsociety.org/technical-program/

Press Room: http://acoustics.org/world-wide-press-room/


In the coming weeks, ASA's Worldwide Press Room will be updated with additional tips on dozens of newsworthy stories and with lay language papers, which are 300-500 word summaries of presentations written by scientists for a general audience and accompanied by photos, audio, and video. You can visit the site during the meeting at http://acoustics.org/world-wide-press-room/.


We will grant free registration to credentialed journalists and professional freelance journalists. If you are a reporter and would like to attend, contact the AIP Media Line at 301-209-3090. For urgent requests, staff at media@aip.org can also help with setting up interviews and obtaining images, sound clips or background information.


Press briefings will be held virtually during the conference. Credentialed media can register in advance by emailing media@aip.org include your full name and affiliation in the message. The official schedule will be announced as soon as it is available and registered attendees will be provided login information via email.


The Acoustical Society of America (ASA) is the premier international scientific society in acoustics devoted to the science and technology of sound. Its 7,000 members worldwide represent a broad spectrum of the study of acoustics. ASA publications include The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America (the world's leading journal on acoustics), Acoustics Today magazine, books, and standards on acoustics. The society also holds two major scientific meetings each year. For more information about ASA, visit our website at http://www.acousticalsociety.org.

Acoustical Society of America

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