4.2 Synoptic and Mesoscale Environments: Setting the Stage for Tornadic Storms

Thursday, 26 January 2017: 3:45 PM
2AB (Washington State Convention Center )
Yvette P. Richardson, Pennsylvania State Univ., Univ. Park, PA

Lance Bosart’s stunning career has involved the study of a wide range of atmospheric scales of motion, with particular emphasis on synoptic-dynamic meteorology, a field in which few can rival his understanding and ability to interpret weather systems.  Among his many contributions is his use of global gridded datasets to investigate numerous weather phenomena and to find links between systems in different locations and of different scales.  In this presentation, we examine the link between the convective and synoptic scales by considering the generation of tornadoes.

Although tornadoes are convective-scale phenomena, their occurrence is strongly tied to particular synoptic and mesoscale environments.  We examine the parameter space of environmental conditions (e.g., vertical wind shear, CAPE, LCL height) in which tornadoes occur and connect these conditions to the promotion of particular dynamic and thermodynamic processes that are fundamental to tornadogenesis.  We then look at how these tornadic environments vary geographically, diurnally, and by storm type.

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