Session 14.4a Infrared thermal imagery of cloud base in tornadic supercells (formerly paper 13.2)

Thursday, 7 October 2004: 2:16 PM
Robin L. Tanamachi, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK; and H. B. Bluestein, S. Moore, R. Madding, and C. R. Alexander

Presentation PDF (511.6 kB)

It has been suggested that the temperature field in and near a low-level mesocyclone may play a role in tornadogenesis. Infrared thermal imagery can be used to infer the temperatures of objects within the images from their emitted longwave radiances. A tripod-moounted, digital, infrared camera was deployed near supercell storms in 2003 and 2004. One such datset is highlighted from 11 June 2003, near Kennebec, South Dakota. Images obtained within a few kilometers of a mesocyclone in tornadic supercell were collected, along with Doppler on Wheels (DOW) data, which documented a weak tornadic vortex signature within three minutes of when the infrared images were captured. No condensation funnel was observed. Several side-by-side comparisons of the visual and infrared images will be shown, illustrating the thermal features of a lowered cloud base and an approaching precipitation shaft.

As of this writing, over 100 images of tornadoes and their associated cloud base prior to tornadogenesis were captured on 12 May 2004 in south-central Kansas. These data will also be discussed.

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