Manfred Lindinger

Editor in the department "Nature and Science".

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Joachim Müller-Jung

Editor in the feuilleton, responsible for the "Nature and Science" department.

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Andrew Frey

Freelance author in the science section of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sunday newspaper.

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Johanna Kuroczik

Editor in the "Science" department of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sunday newspaper.

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Ulf von Rauchhaupt

Editor in the “Science” section of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sunday newspaper.

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Sibylle Anderl

Editor in the feuilleton, responsible for the "Nature and Science" department.

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Tornadoes on the trail

When tornadoes plow through North America, drones promptly take off, in daylight.

From above you can see the path left by the dreaded tornadoes.

The video images from the drones provide valuable information about the extent of the destruction and the strength of the storm, and the images can also be used by meteorologists to distinguish tornadoes from other storm damage.

The videos, which are sometimes laboriously shot, are valuable not only for meteorological forensic scientists, but also for the media.

In Germany, drones are also used from time to time to analyze the damage caused by a storm.

In this country, too, a number of tornadoes of different strengths form from year to year. At the end of May, a violent example passed through Paderborn.

Tornadoes leave typical traces, the rotating force of the storm causes chaos, trees or corn plants then lie all over the place like picking sticks.

In contrast to this, in the case of violent gusts of fall, which also occur during thunderstorms, a relatively orderly damage remains.

Fallen trees then lie in the same direction.

Drones are an important tool in rough terrain, in cities the documentation from the ground is usually sufficient for damage analysis, says Andreas Friedrich, the tornado officer of the German Weather Service.

In Germany, the meteorologists and storm chasers from the private provider Skywarn fly drones after storms, and meteorologists from the European storm research organization ESSL provide such video images from above.

Although the German Weather Service does not have its own drones to analyze the damage caused by storms, it is involved.

Nevertheless, the weather service also uses drones.

Service staff from the DWD use the technology to check the radar systems on remote elevations.

The German Weather Service uses the systems to look into clouds and thus create the rain radar that millions of users access on their apps.

The drones are therefore a means of maintaining the technical infrastructure, says Friedrich.

Drones are also used in measurement campaigns.

One of them took place last summer at the Lindenburg Meteorological Observatory in Brandenburg, and several research institutions and universities were involved.

The researchers were mainly interested in small-scale thunderstorm cells that appear out of nowhere and can lead to severe local destruction.

The drones made it possible to measure the structure of such thunderstorms - and to better understand the outflow of cold air, the so-called cold pools.

However, drones are not suitable as a substitute for regularly rising weather balloons.

The helium-filled balloons float up with the wind and reach far into the stratosphere at an altitude of thirty kilometers.

Drones, on the other hand, have their own drive and are therefore unsuitable for such measurement campaigns.

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Treasure hunt from a bird's eye view

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