Point of Contact:
Dr. Kevin Knupp Professor

Atmospheric Science
Phone: 256.961.7762
Email: kevin.knupp@nsstc.uah.edu

Construction is underway on a new $7 million facility on the UAH campus that will bring new advances to severe weather research.

SWIRLL, a fitting acronym in a city full of projects, stands for the Severe Weather Institute and Radar & Lightning Laboratories.

The acronym was the creativity of Kevin Knupp, a leading severe weather research scientist at UAH and a professor of atmospheric science.

He said SWIRLL “was about the easiest and fastest one I’ve ever come up with. It fit the focus of the research.” He said he started the name with severe weather (SW). “The first word that came to mind was ‘swirl.’ ”

The $7 million grant was made possible through the efforts of Alabama Governor Robert Bentley.

SWIRLL will build on the excellent and collaborative severe weather and radar expertise already in place on campus, in the UAH Department of Atmospheric Science, UAH Earth System Science Center, National Weather Service forecasting office, NASA Earth Science research team, and the Office of the Alabama State Climatologist.

The Chronicle of Higher Education has ranked UAH’s Department of Atmospheric Science as one of the top 10 programs in the nation since 2007. The Earth System Science Center conducts about $9 million a year in research in atmospheric science and ranked 12th in the nation in 2009 on federally funded research and development by the National Science Foundation.

The facility will consist of:

• A severe weather research campaign center to enable command-andcontrol direction of deployed mobile research assets in the midst of severe weather events
• A conference room facility for research, graduate education, operational planning meetings for field campaigns, public outreach, and media coverage
• Office space and sustaining engineering labs for fabrication, maintenance and storage of mobile weather research instrumentation, including the MAX, M3V, and MIPS mobile research units
• Development lab space for work on weather instruments, electronics and computers
• A new location for the ARMOR severe weather research projects. Presently, they reside in a parking lot.
• And a weather balloon launch facility, to enable in-situ measurements during severe weather events, deployed directly from the campus. The facility is designed and will be constructed to be tornado proof.

UAH President Robert Altenkirch said the SWIRLL building will enhance the university’s reputation in scientific disciplines and will be a magnet for students.

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