Supercell Tornado Forecasting

Bobby Prentice

Strong shear itself does not create tornadoes!

Anyway, back to the main topic of the thread - has anyone got any more thoughts? (how tornadoes form)

The landspout/waterspout tornado formation mechanism is thought to be fairly well understood (see the previous thread on this subject), but supercell tornadogenesis is still a mystery. The VORTEX research project back in 1994-1995 and follow-on projects helped to refute certain theories and raised many new questions. Erik Rasmussen (CIMMS) talks about his (and Paul Markowski's) tornado forecasting theories in detail on his website. A direct link to the page can be found here.

New analysis/forecast parmeters have been developed based on some of these theories and can be found on the SPC Houly Mesoscale Analysis Page and Earl Barker's Experimental Products Page.

The VORTEX2 scientific research project is designed to study:

- the genesis of tornadoes: how, when, and why they form,
- why some thunderstorms produce them and others do not,
- the structure of tornadoes, and the relationship of tornadic winds to damage.

I heard the project had been well recieved by the National Science Foundation (NSF), but was pushed back to 2008-09 due to budget problems at NSF. However, I recently noticed that the website can no longer be found.

Here are some of the links as saved in the cache:

VORTEX2 - Home page

VORTEX2 - Experimental Design Overview (January 2005)

VORTEX2 - Anticipated VORTEX2 Principal Investigators as of 1/24/05

VORTEX2 - SLS Conference (3 October 2004, Hyannis, MA) Summary
VORTEX-2 has been scrubbed from what I last heard, therefore all of the things they had planned on studying are going to have to occur through something different.
I have also heard that the 2nd attempt to get funding for VORTEX2 was denied. I'm reasonably confident that it all came down to money... Personally, I'd vote to remove the aircraft radar platform, which seems to be a significant hit to the budget of the project while providing questionable benefit in light of 8 ground-based mobile radars that were planned to be used. I think the unammaned aircraft / drones are a potentially extremely useful tool to measure the very important thermodynamic quantities at high spatial and temporal resolution (particularly in the RFD region) while being much more 'nimble' than traditional aircraft. This is a digression from the intended topic of the thread (or what I think was the intended topic), so I'll stop here.
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