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Proceedings Paper

In harm's way: the truth behind the movie Twister
Author(s): Joseph H. Golden; Erik N. Rasmussen
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Paper Abstract

The primary purpose of this interdisciplinary paper is to open a dialogue between meteorologists and the experts in SPIE on high-speed photogrammetry. We summarize some of the truths and half-truths conveyed by the recent blockbuster movie 'Twister.' Attempts by the meteorological community over the past 25 years to probe tornadoes and related convective vortices like dust-devils and waterspouts are summarized, with special emphasis on windspeeds near the ground. Photogrammetric estimates made by tracking debris elements and other tracers in eyewitness tornado movies yield peak values as high as 250 - 285 mph; however, there remains much uncertainty about both the accuracy and representativeness of these estimates. We believe that new digital hardware and software for image processing and photogrammetry might yield more reliable tornado windspeed estimates, if our two communities can work together; in fact, multiple simultaneous videos of a debris-laden tornado during the 1995 Vortex field project offer the prospect of 3D photogrammetric windfield synthesis.

Paper Details

Date Published: 12 December 1997
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 3173, Ultrahigh- and High-Speed Photography and Image-based Motion Measurement, (12 December 1997); doi: 10.1117/12.294544
Show Author Affiliations
Joseph H. Golden, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (United States)
Erik N. Rasmussen, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3173:
Ultrahigh- and High-Speed Photography and Image-based Motion Measurement
C. Bruce Johnson; Andrew Davidhazy; Takeharu Goji Etoh; C. Bruce Johnson; Donald R. Snyder; James S. Walton; James S. Walton, Editor(s)

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