44 A History of Tornadoes in Europe from Aristotle to Alfred Wegener

Tuesday, 8 November 2016
Broadway Rooms (Hilton Portland )
Bogdan Antonescu, University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom; and H. Ricketts and D. M. Schultz

Alfred Wegener (1880–1930) was a leading geophysicist and an Arctic explorer who is mainly remembered today for his contributions to the theory of continental drift. Less known are his contributions as a pioneering researcher on tornadoes in Europe. Next year marks the 100-year anniversary since the publication of his historical catalogue and study of tornadoes and waterspouts in Europe,  Wind- und Wasserhosen in Europa. Wegener's 1917 study is one of the major contributions to tornado research in Europe still cited today by severe storm researchers. In this presentation, we present the context of Wegener's research on tornadoes by summarizing the contribution to tornado research by European scientists since Classical Antiquity. Based on Wegener’s correspondence with Wladimir Köppen (1846–1940) during 1915–1916, we are able to piece together for the first time the origin and the main sources for Wind- und Wasserhosen in Europa. Finally, the main results from Wegener (1917) are analyzed in the context of the international research on tornadoes and waterspouts at the beginning of the 20th Century.
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