University of Missouri researchers prepare to study upcoming eclipse

COLUMBIA, MO (KTVI) - It’s being called the ‘Great American Eclipse’ and we’ll have a front row seat here in Missouri.

Researchers at the University of Missouri will sit squarely in the middle of the eclipse path, so they are getting ready to capitalize on their good fortune. They will deploy their vast arsenal of weather research assets to capture as much data as time will allow, says Bo Svoma, associate professor of atmospheric sciences.

“At Mizzou we have three unique data sets we can leverage during this total solar eclipse,” Svoma said. “The most interesting one that most universities don’t have is that we have our own research Doppler radar. That will allow us to sense the wind direction at multiple levels in the atmosphere.”

It will also allow them to track thunderstorms if they develop during the eclipse, a dream come true according to Svoma, “Because the eclipse is going to influence airflow and that could influence how a thunderstorm behaves.”

And what cannot be seen with the radar will be measured with weather balloons, using the university’s mobile weather balloon launching vehicle.

It’s hoped that data gathered from the eclipse research can used to improve hydrological and weather forecast models by getting a better look at how the atmosphere interacts with the environment around and below the path of the eclipse shadow.