Live Chat: The Science of Storm Chasing

David is a Deputy News Editor specializing in coverage of science policy, energy and the environment.

See below for the chat box. Join us each Thursday at 3 p.m. EST for a live conversation with leading scientists and expert reporters.
Today's Topic

A flash of lightning, a clap of thunder. Big storms have long inspired awe, fear—and a lot of scientific interest. Now, researchers are getting an unusual new tool to probe severe weather: A retired warplane best known for destroying tanks on the battlefield. In September, the U.S. National Science Foundation announced that it will spend about $13 million to convert an A-10 Thunderbolt jet fighter into a next-generation storm penetrator. The heavily-armored aircraft will lug a suite of high-tech instruments into the hearts of storms to study everything from how hail and lightning form to mysterious bursts of high-energy gamma rays. What are some capabilities this new plane will have that its predecessor didn't? Will it help scientists learn to identify killer storms before they strike? And why, in the age of high-tech satellites and super-sharp radar, do we need to risk a pilot's life flying into a storm at all?

Join us for a live chat about the new storm penetrator and the science it will enable at 3 p.m. EST on Thursday, 17 November, on this page. You can leave your questions in the comment box below before the chat starts.

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Today's Guests

Bradley F. Smull

Sonia Lasher-Trapp

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Posted in Earth