Sunday, 22 January 2012
Thermodynamic and Mid Atlantic Environmental Characteristics and the Impacts on Tornadic and Non-Tornadic Storms in New Jersey, Eastern Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware
Hall E (New Orleans Convention Center )
Research of tornadic systems is usually focused in the Great Plains region of the United States. In recent years, studies have expanded eastward to include the Southeast and Northeast; however, little has been done to understand the Mid-Atlantic. Unique in design, both topographically and meteorologically, the Mid Atlantic is subject to a variety of weather systems, including those that are tornadic and non tornadic in nature. With such a dense population of people residing in the Megalopolis that is New York City, Philadelphia and Washington D.C, it is important to have an understanding of what factors are needed to allow for or prevent the formation of a tornadic event. In general the consensus is that all tornadic systems form in similar ways with a given set of parameters; however, conditions and topography differ in different areas of the country. This can lead to a variety of different conditions to help fuel a storm. Despite not having instability values at levels found in the Great Plains, storms along the East Coast are still capable of producing tornadoes. With this understanding it is possible for one to believe that there are a variety of different values and factors that can be used for forecasting of storms that are location specific. To test this theory, data collected from soundings, including Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE), Storm Relative Helicity (SRH) and Energy Helicity Index (EHI), along with topographic features, environmental factors and mesoscale patterns in the Mid-Atlantic region will be analyzed and a general comparison will be completed to find what features would favor or prevent tornadic development. This will help to better understand what goes into the making of a severe storm and what gives it tornadic or non-tornadic characteristics. In order to make the hypothesis plausible, small scale features such as a sea breeze, variation in terrain and other instability factors, at a level lower than that of Great Plains storms, must be in place to help promote or diminish tornadic development.