Electromagnetic nature of tropical cyclones, tornadoes and supercell storms

Ashwin D

EF0
Oct 8, 2017
16
0
1
Chennai, India
Looking at the literature as shown in these references

1) http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/97JD00146/pdf

2) https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0304388607000484

3) https://www.scribd.com/document/45838943/Supercell-Thunderstorms-and-Tornadoes-An-Electromagnetic-and-Thermodynamic-Approach

Why is the role of electric field and the induced magnetic field not considered in the flow of mesoscale phenomena in most weather models today ? Why is this not accepted by the atmospheric science community ?
 
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Having read through the first paper in your list, I can't get to grips with what the authors are saying that the fields are acting upon to actual cause, or strengthen the various phenomena.

Do you think their inclusion would help the models? If so, in what way?

For example, with several powerful hurricanes last season (e.g. Maria) weather models, e.g. ECMWF, did extremely well in predicting the development and progress. I'm interested in how inclusion of the above would aid them.
 

Ashwin D

EF0
Oct 8, 2017
16
0
1
Chennai, India
The question was not just TCs but a whole variety of mesoscale phenomena. That includes tornadoes, supercell storms etc. So if that environment has a charged environment that changes with time we will get an electric field that changes with time . By Maxwell's laws that should cause a magnetic field. If that is part of the environment of a mesoscale phenomenon is it not part of the science that should be modeled ? Currently we only model the mechanical and thermodynamical and not the electromagnetic/electrodynamic part. . My question is - is this part of the science irrelevant(because the scales involved are too small to be taken into consideration) or it is too expensive to numerically implement or we just do not know enough about the electro/magnetodynamic part of the mesoscale phenomena ?

I am not saying it will improve the model necessarily. I am asking is it part of the science that should be modeled or not ? So it is more of a scale analysis question.
 
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Mark Blue

Staff member
Supporter
Feb 19, 2007
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Colorado
I’ll take a stab. Maybe the researchers haven’t been able to measure and quantify those phenomena in the field yet with any regularity and reliability. @Jeff Duda should know more about this especially as time marches on and he gets knee deep in the subject. It sounds interesting as it’s obvious these storms are highly electrified and subject to electro magnetic forces in the lower troposphere.

I don’t know where you are in your educational journey, but if you’re post grad I think you just found your Master’s thesis topic.
 

Ashwin D

EF0
Oct 8, 2017
16
0
1
Chennai, India
Mark - yes I am very interested in mesoscale phenomena(TC, supercell and tornadoes) and it could be a part of my research.

@Paul Knightley - Reference (3) (available behind a paywall) mentions that strong electric fields can provide the uplift required for strong tornadoes. So this is really the vertical momentum equation in meteorology. At that scale bordering on microscale and mesoscale gamma does it make sense to add this as a forcing term ?
 
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The role of electromagnetism in tornadogenesis has been hit on by various studies for decades. I believe one of the first theories as to how tornadoes formed involved lightning, but I'm not 100% sure on that.

What bothers me with the first and third papers (I can't currently get access to the second) listed here is that they cite very few, if any, of the hundreds of peer-reviewed field and model studies on tornadogenesis from meteorological journals. I don't expect the authors to acknowledge all of them, but acknowledging at least a few of the more prominent studies would be more promising. Forecasting of hurricanes and tornadoes has come a long way since the first paper was written. I would argue the reason that they still can't be perfectly forecasted is due to the fact that yes, we still don't know 100% what goes on in them, and that we lack the proper amount of atmospheric measurements. There's still many questions regarding the near-surface dynamics and thermodynamics in tornadogenesis. Could electromagnetism play some sort of role in tornadogenesis? Sure, it's possible. But my guess is the meteorological community feels that this force is so minor, if not negligible, that we need to focus on the more significant forces.
 
Apr 25, 2009
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Scottsdale, AZ
I suspect that the actual magnitude of the effects is very small compared to the thermodynamic and kinetic processes - probably small enough to disregard unless there is some sort of highly non-linear thing going on - like a significant influence on hydrometeor formation or something like that.
 

Jeff Duda

Resident meteorological expert
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Oct 7, 2008
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www.meteor.iastate.edu
Having done nothing else but very cursorily skim the first paper, I can say Fig. 3 is wrong. That is not the structure of a tornado within a thunderstorm. This is fairly easily evinced by examination of Doppler radial velocities of an actively tornadic supercell - the rotational couplet is most intense in the lowest levels and broadens with height, and also tends to weaken above a certain point. It certainly does not reach the top of the thunderstorm cloud (not on the scale of a mesocyclone at least), and it is not the reason there is an overshooting top (although the author may not be claimig that causal relationship...I didn't read it).

Tornadoes are mostly a surface-oriented phenomenon...the vorticity that eventually makes contact with the ground also tends to originate near the ground. I do believe there is some utility in the "dynamic pipe" effect for explaining tornadogenesis, but it is not as simple as downward air motion advecting vertical vorticity (generated aloft within the storm cloud...which is also generally not true) toward the ground.

I may make additional comments as I am able to.
 

MClarkson

EF5
Sep 2, 2004
891
27
11
Blacksburg, VA
is this part of the science irrelevant(because the scales involved are too small to be taken into consideration)
That is the answer. The forces of electromagnetism tend to be many orders of magnitude smaller than the thermodynamic forces, and thus are small enough to be ignored, being generally less than rounding and instrument error on the more important variables .