A scientist and a supercomputer re-create a tornado

Randy Jennings

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Leigh Orf, a scientist with the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS) at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, leads a group of researchers who use computer models to unveil the moving parts inside tornadoes and the supercells that produce them. The team has developed expertise creating in-depth visualizations of supercells and discerning how they form and ultimately spawn tornadoes. He and his team have modeled the May 24, 2011 El Reno EF-5 tornado.

Full story (and video of the simulation) at: http://news.wisc.edu/a-scientist-and-a-supercomputer-re-create-a-tornado/
 
Agree that this is old hat (although still cool to look at). What I don't remember seeing before in a simulation was the rendering of streamwise vorticity current (SVC) and the claim that it "never makes contact with the tornado rather, it flows up and around it.” But then again I could have missed that - I not a meteorologist and I haven't studied fluid mechanics either. @Jeff Duda - what are your thoughts on SVC and the claims made about it in this article?
 
Seems pretty reasonable to me given the caveats. Last I recall he was working on an even finer resolution simulation of the same event and with more realism added in. Will be interesting to see how the new results differ.
 
Oooo, hope they have lots of cores. My 20m two dimensional grid takes ~8 hours to run on a single fairly good core if I open it up to a 120km slice. And thats with primitive advection.

Blue Waters, built from the latest technologies from Cray, Inc., uses hundreds of thousands of computational cores to achieve peak performance of more than 13 quadrillion calculations per second.


ahhhh... that would do it. That must be a fun toy to play with!
 
I saw the model awhile ago and was fascinated by that and the guy working on the super computer to do it. Very cool stuff.

My takeaway from this thread, though, is that the big El Reno tornado in '13 was an EF-3 instead of an EF-5 and the '11 EF-5 was a totally different tornado Lol! Now I see why I had been getting confused about the date of that tornado. Can't believe it ended up as only being rated EF-3. Guess it was a good thing since it means it didn't hurt more people and structures.
 
My takeaway from this thread, though, is that the big El Reno tornado in '13 was an EF-3 instead of an EF-5 and the '11 EF-5 was a totally different tornado Lol! Now I see why I had been getting confused about the date of that tornado. Can't believe it ended up as only being rated EF-3. Guess it was a good thing since it means it didn't hurt more people and structures.

Just to make sure you understand, the tornado that occurred on 31 May 2013 was rated EF3 not because it was actually weaker than previously thought, but because the NWS decided to rate it exclusively based on damage (and thus ignoring all radar based observations of wind speeds in it). While it may have killed "only" four people, tornadoes are also not rated based on the number of injuries/deaths they cause.

The study may have used the environment in which the 24 May 2011 EF5 occurred, but based on the accounts I have seen between the two tornadoes, it seems quite possible, if even likely, that the 2013 tornado was a bigger BAMF than the 2011 tornado. Not that it really matters which environment you use - both easily supported top-end tornado production from supercells.
 
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