Tornado Detection by Pulsed Doppler Radar

View More View Less
  • 1 National Severe Storms Laboratory, Norman, Okla. 73069
© Get Permissions
Restricted access

Abstract

Doppler radar measurements in the Union City, Okla., tornadic storm of 24 May 1973 led to discovery of a unique tornadic vortex signature (TVS) in the field of mean Doppler velocity data. The distinct character of this signature and its association with the tornado are verified using a model that simulates Doppler velocity measurements through a tornado. Temporal and spatial variations of the TVS reveal previously unknown tornado characteristics. The TVS originates at storm mid-levels within a parent mesocyclone, descends to the ground with the tornado (extending vertically at least 10 km), and finally dissipates at all heights when the tornado dissipates. NSSL Doppler radar data from 1973 through 1976 reveal 10 signatures; eight were associated with tornadoes or funnel clouds, while no reports are available for the other two. Since the TVS first appears aloft tens of minutes before tornado touchdown, the signature has decided potential for real-time warning.

Abstract

Doppler radar measurements in the Union City, Okla., tornadic storm of 24 May 1973 led to discovery of a unique tornadic vortex signature (TVS) in the field of mean Doppler velocity data. The distinct character of this signature and its association with the tornado are verified using a model that simulates Doppler velocity measurements through a tornado. Temporal and spatial variations of the TVS reveal previously unknown tornado characteristics. The TVS originates at storm mid-levels within a parent mesocyclone, descends to the ground with the tornado (extending vertically at least 10 km), and finally dissipates at all heights when the tornado dissipates. NSSL Doppler radar data from 1973 through 1976 reveal 10 signatures; eight were associated with tornadoes or funnel clouds, while no reports are available for the other two. Since the TVS first appears aloft tens of minutes before tornado touchdown, the signature has decided potential for real-time warning.

Save