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Tornados and Climate Change. Michael Pateman And Drew Vankat. What is a tornado?. An intense, rotating column of air extending from the base of a thunderstorm cloud to the ground. www.spc.noaa.gov. Ingredients for tornado formation:. Polar jet stream Low pressure trough Inversion layer

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Tornados and climate change l.jpg

Tornados and Climate Change

Michael Pateman

And

Drew Vankat


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What is a tornado?

  • An intense, rotating column of air extending from the base of a thunderstorm cloud to the ground.

www.spc.noaa.gov


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Ingredients for tornado formation:

  • Polar jet stream

  • Low pressure trough

  • Inversion layer

  • Layer of warm humid air near surface

  • Triggering mechanism

Ahrens, C. Donald. Meteorology Today, pp407-8


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How are they formed?

  • Supercell Thunderstorms

    • Large

    • Long-lasting

    • Complex

  • Mesocyclones

    • Area of rotating air in a severe thunderstorm

    • May be stretched vertically, increasing rate of rotation

    • Can protrude downward, through base of storm

      • Funnel cloud

      • Becomes a tornado when contact is made with ground


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Tornado Structure

  • Extremely low pressures

    • Estimated 10 percent less than the immediate surrounding area

  • Steep pressure gradient

    • Wind speeds of up to 300 miles an hour


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  • Weaker tornadoes: one vortex

  • Larger, stronger tornadoes: several smaller 'suction vortexes’

    • very concentrated

    • often no larger than 10 meters in diameter


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Where are they found?

  • United States

    • Great Plains during spring and summer

    • “Tornado Alley”

  • All over the world


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Tornado Magnitude

  • Fujita Tornado Damage Scale

    • Measures strength and intensity

    • Ratings from F0 (weakest) to F5(most powerful)


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Fujita Scale

  • Category F0: Light Damage (<73 mph); Some damage to chimneys; branches broken off trees; shallow-rooted trees pushed over; sign boards damaged.

  • Category F1: Moderate Damage (73-112 mph); Peels surface off roofs; mobile homes pushed off foundations or overturned; moving autos blown off road.

  • Category F2: Considerable Damage (113-157 mph); Roofs torn off frame houses; mobile homes demolished; boxcars overturned; large trees snapped or uprooted; light-object missiles generated; cars lifted off ground.

www.noaa.gov/tornadofacts.html


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  • Category F3: Severe Damage (158- 206 mph); Roofs and some walls torn off well-constructed houses, trains overturned; most trees in forest uprooted; heavy cars lifted off ground and thrown.

  • Category F4: Devastating Damage (207- 260 mph); Well-constructed houses leveled; structure with weak foundations blown off some distance; cars thrown and large missiles generated.

  • Category F5: Incredible Damage (261- 318 mph); Strong frame houses lifted off foundations and swept away; automobile sized missiles fly through the air in excess of 100 meters; trees debarked; incredible phenomena will occur.

www.noaa.gov/tornadofacts.html


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ENSO

  • The ENSO (El Nino/ Southern Oscillation) cycle refers to the coherent, large-scale fluctuation of ocean temperatures, rainfall, atmospheric circulation, vertical motion and air pressure across the tropical Pacific.

http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/


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When has it happened?

  • La Nina

  • 1951

  • 1952

  • 1956

  • 1965

  • 1971

  • 1974

  • 1989

El Nino

  • 1958

  • 1964

  • 1966

  • 1969

  • 1973

  • 1983

  • 1987

  • 1988

  • 1992

  • 1995


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What is El Nino?

  • a disruption of the ocean-atmosphere system in the Tropical Pacific

  • development of abnormally warm sea surface temperatures across the eastern tropical Pacific

  • having important consequences for weather and climate around the globe.

  • These consequences can include increased rainfall in some areas (which can lead to flooding)

  • extreme drought in others.


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What is La Nina?

  • Characterized by unusually cold ocean temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific

  • US warmer southwest winters, colder Northwest


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How do they affect Tornados?

  • Mideastern US April 3 - 4, 1974 - Massive Tornado outbreak - “Classic La Nina Year”

  • In Ohio 16 Tornados

  • All within 6 hrs of each other

  • 5 - F1 4 - F2 2 - F3 2 - F4 3 - F5

  • Coincidence?




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Tornado Data (Texas)

# Tornados

  • 1950’s 647

  • 1960’s 1195

  • 1970’s 1484

  • 1980’s 1492

  • 1990’s 1836


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Tornado Data (Nebraska)

# Tornados

  • 1950’s 319

  • 1960’s 302

  • 1970’s 405

  • 1980’s 377

  • 1990’s 701


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Tornado Data (Ohio)

# Tornados

  • 1950’s 71

  • 1960’s 148

  • 1970’s 202

  • 1980’s 165

  • 1990’s 251


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Data

  • http://www4.ncdc.noaa.gov/cgi-win/wwcgi.dll?wwEvent~Storms

  • All Tornado Data downloaded from this site.

  • Any questions?