48 Low-Level Tornado Wind Structure

Monday, 22 October 2018
Stowe & Atrium rooms (Stoweflake Mountain Resort )
Karen Kosiba, Center for Severe Weather Research, Boulder, CO; and J. Wurman

One of the biggest challenges facing tornado research is characterizing the wind structure very near the surface. These winds impact and harm people and buildings, yet little is known about the intensity and distribution of tornadic winds in this very important region. During recent decades, there have been various approaches to quantifying near-surface winds including photogrammetry, laboratory and computer modeling, damage assessment, in situ observations, and fine-scale resolution radar observations. Tornadoes are relatively rare phenomena and, while there is a theoretical understanding of vortex structure, how this is manifested in the atmosphere remains an active field of research. With the advent of mobile research radars, observations of Doppler wind speeds and tornado structures have become, while sparse, increasingly more available. However, the interpretation of radar measurements are complicated by the effects of debris centrifuging and the unknown dependency of wind speed with height since most radar observations above building height. Attempts to couple proximate mobile radar observations with very near ground in-situ data in order to bridge the gap between the surface and radar observation height will be presented. Preliminary results suggest that the most intense winds may be occurring very close the surface, but there is variability among different diagnosed tornado structures.
- Indicates paper has been withdrawn from meeting
- Indicates an Award Winner