Tornado research

Tornadoes Much about tornadoes remains a mystery. They are rare, unpredictable and deadly. NSSL's tornado research targets ways to improve tornado forecasts and warnings to help save lives.

Tornado research

Presented as archival content. Unlike most articles on Britannica. Rather, they are presented on the site as archival content, intended for historical reference only. In two principal scientific questions about tornadoes continued to puzzle Meteorologists. The first considered how and why tornadoes form tornadogenesisand the second concerned details of their internal structure, particularly with respect to the variations in wind speed and wind direction near the ground.

Actually, signal processing involves estimating the rate at which the phase difference between the transmitted and backscattered radiation varies with time. This process is used to map tornado wind fields and the wind fields of their parent storms during tornadogenesis and those of similar-looking storms that do not produce tornadoes.

In addition, several significant improvements in the tracking and forecasting Tornado research tornadoes have been made.

Tornado research

This twister was part of an outbreak of roughly one dozen tornadoes that struck the region from April 13 to April The instruments used included mobile Doppler radars, a mobile Doppler Tornado research, instrumented vehicles, probes, weather balloons, cameras, and a small remotely controlled unmanned aircraft—which were deployed within and near supercells long-lived convective storms containing strong rotating storm-scale updrafts; historically, supercells have produced the strongest tornadoes.

In the spring offor example, record numbers of tornadoes struck the eastern and southern U. Such strong tornadoes, classified as EF5 storms, even passed through highly populated areas, such as Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Mobile Doppler radar data were collected in some of the large tornadoes that occurred during the period. Since the late s, theoretical knowledge about tornadoes has been enhanced through the use of numerical models, especially large-eddy simulation LES models that attempt to characterize the turbulent airflow of tornadoes.

Some researchers have attempted to increase tornado-prediction accuracy through improvements to numerical cloud models that incorporate real-time meteorological observations and operational Doppler radar data.

Most of these radars make partial use of phased-array technology, where the outgoing radar beam is scanned electronically and transmitted in many directions at once, and the incoming, backscattered radiation is also monitored via electronic scanning.

This process is faster than the older, mechanical techniques that require the physical movement of an antenna to direct the beam. Another less-expensive type of rapid-scan radar which still uses a mechanical process and thus scans at a slower rate was introduced in Pulses from this radar are sent out at a number of slightly different frequencies, which facilitates the rapid rotation of the antenna.

Meteorologists contend that this technique also allows for the collection of enough independent samples to make accurate measurements, even in the case of polarimetric variables which help meteorologists understand the polarization state of electromagnetic fields, such as those produced by radars that have been backscattered by radars off clouds and precipitation.

Expanding Knowledge

Data collected from polarimetric radars have allowed researchers to distinguish between the different types of scatterers such as hail, ice crystals, insects, dust, and large and small raindrops in the storm. Pat Rafferty Productions The use of rapid-scan radars has revealed that in a few well-documented cases of tornadogenesis, the tornado began near the ground and developed upward with time.

Prior to these rapid-scan observations, it was thought that many tornadoes formed aloft and developed downward toward the ground. Polarimetric radar data have allowed meteorologists to detect debris lofted by and moving within tornadoes. These data have helped meteorologists determine whether a Doppler wind signature indicating a strong vortex is actually a tornado inflicting damage.

In addition, there are different signatures that are suggestive of particle-size sorting. Mobile Doppler radars with high spatial resolution finely detailed measurements with respect to space have been used to probe tornadoes since the early s, noting the presence of echo holes phenomena that signify tornadic circulation.

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NSSL Research: Tornadoes

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