Brian Elbing, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Oklahoma State University


2022 Experimental Physics Investigator

Brian Elbing, Ph.D.
Image credit: Gary Lawson, Oklahoma State University

Research Description

Brian Elbing’s research aims to understand the information about a tornado that is carried by the low-frequency sound (infrasound) it makes. Currently, it is unclear what makes these sounds, which prevent use of infrasound within the warning system. It is believed that condensation within the tornado plays a critical role, which will be experimentally tested by measuring the vortex sounds while inducing condensation. In addition, field testing will directly measure the sounds from tornadoes from fixed locations as well as with storm chasers and high altitude balloons. When combined, these observations will produce fundamental relationships between the tornado and the sounds it produces.

Research Impact

Most tornado related deaths occur in the southeastern United States due to hilly terrain that limits the effectiveness of weather radar. Tornadoes make sounds at frequencies below human hearing that is insensitive to the terrain. Dr. Elbing's research will enable the use of these sounds to improve tornado warnings and save lives.


related links

Experimental Physics Investigators Initiative Science Oklahoma State University, School of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering Back


PhD, Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
MSE, Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
BS, Mechanical Engineering, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo

Affiliated Investigators