How to track a tornado - Karen Kosiba
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We expect over 100 scientists and over 40 science and support vehicles to participate in this unique, fully nomadic, field program during its second and last field season, May/June 2010. The National Science Foundation (NSF) foundation and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are contributing over $10 million towards this effort. Participants will again be drawn from over a dozen universities, and several government and private organizations. International participants will be drawn from Italy, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Germany, Canada and Australia.Storm Prediction CenterThe 2011 tornado season was particularly bad for tornadoes and their impacts on society, with nearly 1700 confirmed tornadoes (second highest total since 1950) and an estimated 550 fatalities (deadliest year since 1936). The severity of that particular tornado season prompted many articles in the popular media that questioned whether climate change was to blame and what we can expect in the future. However, there were surprisingly few, if any, articles that addressed how a tornado forms in the first place. Read more here.After tornado outbreaks or individual violent tornadoes occur in the central United States, media stories often attribute the location, number, or intensity of tornadoes to the “clash of air masses” between warm tropical air and cold polar air. This article argues that such a characterization of tornadogenesis is oversimplified, outdated, and incorrect. Airmass boundaries and associated temperature gradients can be important in tornadogenesis, but not in the ways envisioned on the synoptic scale with the clash-of-air-masses conceptual model. In fact, excessively strong horizontal temperature gradients (either on the synoptic scale or associated with a storm’s own cool outflow) may be detrimental to tornadogenesis. Where adjacent air masses are relevant is through their vertical distribution that produces the requisite instability for the convective storm, but that instability is not directly related to the formation of tornadoes. Therefore, this article recommends that a greater effort be made to communicate accurately to the public the current scientific understanding of the conditions under which tornadoes are formed. Read more here.The most effective tool to detect precipitation is radar. Radar, which stands for RAdio Detection And Ranging, has been utilized to detect precipitation, and especially thunderstorms, since the 1940's. Radar enhancements have enabled NWS forecasters to examine storms with more precision.The Enhanced Fujita Scale (EF Scale)The Severe Storms Module is a combination of two elements. The first is the NOAA Severe Storms Spotters Guide. The second is a section recently added to discuss the efforts and results of modeling severe storms. The Severe Storms Spotters Guide contains supplemental instructional resources and a program designed to familiarize meteorologists and advanced severe storm spotters with the basic "building blocks" of convective storm structure. The focus of the training series is the development of a thunderstorm "spectrum" and a discussion of the physical characteristics and severe weather potential of the various storm types in the spectrum.It is estimated that there are as many as 40,000 thunderstorm occurrences each day world-wide. This translates into an astounding 14.6 million occurrences annually! The United States certainly experiences its share of thunderstorm occurrences.SEVERE WEATHER 101: Tornado BasicsWeb Weather for KidsResources to be used in conjunction with the film, Tornado Alley.
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