Session 8B.4 Analysis of cell mergers leading to tornadogenesis using 3D rendered radar imagery

Tuesday, 12 October 2010: 2:15 PM
Grand Mesa Ballroom D (Hyatt Regency Tech Center)
Ray A. Wolf, NOAA/NWS, Davenport, IA

Presentation PDF (934.1 kB)

One of the many challenges facing forecasters issuing tornado warnings is the rapid onset of tornadogenesis that can occur with cell mergers. Limited research has been conducted on the topic, but from this research and operational experience, it is known that a wide variety of outcomes are possible with cell mergers. During and shortly after merging, cells may intensify yet not produce a tornado, intensify and produce a tornado very quickly, show little apparent change, lead to the development of a new cell(s), weaken and collapse, or finally, experience some combination of these. Given the range of potential outcomes, it would be valuable to develop understanding and skill in anticipating the likely outcome prior to merging, or at least determine the degree of risk for tornadogenesis.

Using WSR-88D data, cell mergers will be analyzed using three-dimensional imaging to determine the utility of this approach as a warning tool. The strengths and weaknesses of 3D imaging and WSR-88D data will be noted via analysis of cases where storm mergers resulted in tornadoes. In addition, possible mechanisms supporting tornadogenesis will be hypothesized.

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