ESRL/PSD Seminar Series

Associating U.S. tornado activity with environmental parameters.

Dr. Michael Tippet
International Research Institute for Climate and Society, The Earth Institute, Columbia University, New York.


The analysis of observations in the vicinity of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes has led to empirical associations between the likelihood of tornado occurrence and local synoptic environmental variables such as convective available potential energy and vertical shear. These relations provide guidance in the production of probabilistic convective outlooks. Relations between monthly averaged environmental parameters from the North American Regional Reanalysis (NARR) and monthly tornado activity from the NCDC Storm Event database were used to construct an empirical "tornado index". The tornado index is able to reproduce aspects of climatological and interannual variability. Analysis of the index computed with forecast parameters gives some evidence for the predictability of monthly tornado activity.

Wednesday, Jan 30
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