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A Day With The Center for Severe Weather Research



DSC_0207 I’m quite blessed to live in the beautiful state of Colorado, which also happens to be home to the Center for Severe Weather Research in Boulder, Colorado. These are the guys who get right up next to tornadoes and hurricanes — all in the name of science.

Lenovo has partnered with CSWR by equipping the organization with over 50 ThinkPads and ThinkCentre computers — rugged computers built to withstand the demands of intense storm chasing.

Here are some pictures I shot of the Doplar on Wheels, the tornado PODs, and how they are using the Lenovo computers. Stay tuned for a video InkShow where we’ll go mobile in a DOW and Joshua Wurman describes how they stay connected while on the road.

The team uses the following notebooks:

ThinkPad T400 laptops — Used in the instrumented Probe and Disdrometer vehicles, these laptops play an important role in transferring data collected through the dozen weather pods that are placed in the path of a storm. These pods measure weather data, such as wind speed and temperature. The laptops also power diagnostic software used to test and monitor weather stations in the field.

ThinkPad W500 laptops — Attached to the mounts inside the Probe and Disdrometer vehicles, the laptops run navigation, tracking and mapping software.

ThinkPad W700 laptops — These laptops are used for housing a variety of radar and mapping applications for analyzing and displaying graphically demanding data and video without being tied to a desk. The laptops are also being used for public presentations of preliminary science results as well as in the field for a first analysis of data.

ThinkPad X200s laptops — For lightweight and portability, the team is using these laptops to conduct tornado damage assessments.

IdeaPad S10 netbooks — Individual scientists are using the netbooks as a quick and convenient way to check Internet weather forecasts and email.

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The Center for Severe Weather Research is located in beautiful Boulder, Colorado The hangar where CSWR is setting up for Vortex 2, heading out to Oklahoma for tornado season
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Doplar on Wheels (DOW) W700’s and ThinkCentre Monitors that will go in the DOW
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Lenovo W700 Thinkpad Lenovo S10 Netbook
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Joshua Wurman on the phone (Blackberry Storm), using his Lenovo X200 CSWR Logo on the DOW
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Probe Truck loaded full of Tornado PODs, which store wind and velocity info, which is then fed into a Thinkpad T400 A Probe Vehicle with weather instruments and PODs
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Joshua Wurman pointing to data they tracked on Hurricane Ike Lenovo X200
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Lenovo ThinkCentre — used in the DOW Lenovo S10 Netbooks — scientists use them for mobile computing, email, web, etc
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DOW Joshua Wurman doing some more work on his X200 Thinkpad
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Weather Anteannae on the DOW Inside the driver seat of the DOW
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CSWR Staff prepping a W700 The entire staff is very hands on, making, fixing, or modifying anything they need. The hangar was like a mad-scientist lab
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Inside the DOW, lots of wide screen ThinkCentre monitors Power strips to power up just about anything. The DOW has a generator on board.
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A massive KVM switch to control monitors, mice, keyboards, and ThinkCentre desktops, Another view of the KVM switch
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Wiring everywhere A ThinkCentre monitor
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The DOW being raised up A CSWR staff member pretending to lift the massive DOW
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Inside a probe vehicle T400 with Outdoor screen with 680 nits!
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Getting data from a POD Weather instruments on the probe vehicle which sends real-time data to the Thinkpad T400
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A tornado POD. Four of these are stored in the probe vehicle Probe vehicle with the weather instruments
The back of the probe vehicle


  1. frblckstr

    05/07/2009 at 5:07 am

    I hope they have there VGA cables better connected now then last year :)

  2. Mark (K0LO)

    05/07/2009 at 7:10 am

    That brought back memories – I worked at NCAR in Boulder from 1975 – 1979.

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