A young American meteorologist has been running about in a California desert for the advancement of science.
GV Sand whirlwind in desert (2 shots)
GV Dr Fitzjarrald chasing sandstorms (2 shots)
SV INT. Ditto with reproduced wind in laboratory
SCU Fitzjarrald speaks.
SOF IN The experiments..."
GV Sand whirlwind (2 shots)
LV Fitzjarrald chasing storm
BROWN: "These swirling pillars of sand and debris have been tabbed with a variety of names by desert travellers -- dust devils -- devil winds -- whirlies. These dust devils were filmed at Southern California E1 Mirage Dry Lake by a 29-year old UCLA meteorology professor. And there he is -- Doctor Dan Fitzjarrald -- who has spent two summers literally chasing these winds around the dry lake bed, trying to measure their velocity and temperature. Fitzjarrald wants to know not only why and how they work -- but could the principle have a practical application. Possibly to save his legs and avoid always choking in the middle of the real thing --Fitzjarrald has reproduced the devil???inds in his laboratory. A heated aluminum plate acts as the desert floor -- and adjustable plexi-glass panels help form the surrounding atmosphere."
FITZJARRALD: "The experiment itself has no....just sits here and goes round and round, but if we learn more about vortices, that is whirlwinds in the atmosphere, we can better understand tornadoes, which are very important."
BROWN: "So Doctor Fitzjarrald is not bedeviled by these so-called devil winds -- he sees in the towering columns -- the way to get some answers about this natural phenomenon -- and perhaps how to harness the theory. He must see something -- to chase them around like he does."
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Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: A young American meteorologist has been running about in a California desert for the advancement of science. He is 29-year-old Dr Dan Fitzjarrald, a professor at the University of California at Los Angles.
As this report by NBC reporter Jim Brown explains, Dr Fitzjarrald hopes through the study of small whirlwinds to come closer to an understanding of their destructive relatives, tornadoes.