P10.13 Exploring Doppler radar estimates of tornado intensity

Thursday, 14 October 2010
Grand Mesa Ballroom ABC (Hyatt Regency Tech Center)
Mallie Toth, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN; and R. J. Trapp, J. Wurman, and K. A. Kosiba

A potential complement or alternative to an EF-Scale damage-based approach of tornado intensity is proposed using WSR-88D scans. Through the use of statistical modeling, tornadic circulations resolved by the WSR-88D are used to estimate tornado intensity at the ground. Because the true intensity is unknown, we pair the WSR-88D data with data collected on the same tornadoes by a Doppler on Wheels (DOW) radar. Thus far, the model considers data from the following tornado events: Spencer, SD (1998); Moore, OK (1999); Stuttgart, AR (2008); and Goshen County, WY (2009). These cases are well-documented, long-lived tornadoes that occurred within 75 km of a WSR-88D. Methods and initial findings will be discussed.

The goal of this project is to provide an objective approach to estimating tornadic wind speeds thereby allowing for improvements to the climatological tornado record. This can then be incorporated into decision support systems, thus allowing for a detailed and timely dissemination concerning the impending or occurring tornado hazard (e.g. a warning). A climatology based on quantitative data will enhance our current observations-based climatological record, enabling climate scientists to better estimate the impact of climate change on the intensity of tornadoes.

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