What causes tornadoes to form?
funded by NSF
0755462 and NSF
0746816 and its REU supplement
Data generated using TeraGrid resources: kraken and nautilus at NICS from the University of
REU students working in collaboration with scientists at the National
Laboratory have developed a series of high resolution simulations of supercell
thunderstorms that will enable us to study the formation of tornadoes.
es are one of the most violent forms of hazardous weather, causing millions
of dollars of damage and loss of life and property every year. In 2008, tornadoes
126 deaths in the United States.
While improvement in radar capabi
lities and in prediction techniques have
dramatically improved the ability to predict tornadoes, the false alarm
In order to improve the prediction of tornadoes, we need to
dramatically improve our understanding of how they
novel spatiotemporal data mining models that will enable us to revolutionize our
understanding of the formation of tornadoes.
Because tornadoes are a rare event in nature, we are
an unprecedented set
ese simulations are high resolution, enabling us
By studying simulated data, we gain a complete picture of the fundamental
meteorological variables surrounding the tornadoes.
This unique dataset will
enable us to study the form
ation of severe storms,
both tornadic and non
We are developing and applying
spatiotemporal data mining models to this data.
These simulations and analysis are made possible through the supercomputing
resources from TeraGrid, specifically
the machines at the University of Tennessee
and NICS. Without these machines, this work would not be possible as the
resources required are not available for general purchase.
Images/videos understandable by general audience, with captions and credits
the reflectivity at the surface
of one of
our simulations. R
edder colors indicate a region with more intense precipitation.
graph also shows a
hook echo region, a region indicative of a tornado, in the so
quadrant of the simulation.
Caption for second image below: This graph
shows the corresponding pres
and vorticity measurements
at the same time step for the same simulation
. The arrows show the wind field, the contour l
ines show the pressure gradients,
and the colors show the vorticity. Vorticity is a measure of the instantaneous spin.
Combined with a dramatic change in pressure, vorticity can be used to confirm the
presence of a tornado
, which is seen in the same regi
on as the hook echo in the