9.6 Tornadogenesis within a Simulated Supercell Storm

Wednesday, 6 October 2004: 11:45 AM
Ming Xue, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK

Due to their anomalous computational requirement, numerical simulations of tornadoes have so far been limited to idealized simulations without the parental thunderstorm, or the simulation of tornado vortex with parental storm but without resolving the internal structure of tornado itself. In the latter case, all past simulations used either nested grids or local grid refinement. Recent development in computational technology and improved parallel capability of numerical models has made it possible (though still challenging) to resolve parental storm and internal structure of tornado using uniform resolution grid.

A set of successful numerical simulations of tornadoes embedded within a supercell storm have has recently completed. The simulations used the ARPS (Advanced Regional Prediction System) and up to 2048 Alpha processors at the Pittsburgh Supercomputer Center. A tornado with surface ground-relative wind speeds of 120m/s and a pressure drop of over 80mb was obtained in these simulations. Uniform 25m horizontal and 20m near-surface vertical resolutions were used, with a grid of about 2000x2000x83 grid points, or about a third of a billion grid cells. The use of uniform resolution grid large enough to contain the entire parental storm eliminates uncertainties associated with grid nesting or local refinement.

The structure and evolution of the simulated tornadoes will be examined. The source of low-level rotation will be studied via time-dependent trajectory analysis and diagnostic calculations. The dynamics of tornado decay will be discussed.

- Indicates paper has been withdrawn from meeting
- Indicates an Award Winner