THE “MUSICAL” SOUND EMITTED BY A TORNADO

ABDUL JABBAR ABDULLAH National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colo.

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Abstract

This paper attempts to explain the “whining” or “hissing” sound reported from tornadoes. The leading hypothesis is that the air masses involved in the tornado circulation execute some free vibrations. It is found that these vibrations may be in the audible range for a small vortex whose radius is of the order of 10 m. or less. A formula is obtained which relates the frequency of the tone to the inner radius of the vortex. This formula is amenable to experimental verification.

Abstract

This paper attempts to explain the “whining” or “hissing” sound reported from tornadoes. The leading hypothesis is that the air masses involved in the tornado circulation execute some free vibrations. It is found that these vibrations may be in the audible range for a small vortex whose radius is of the order of 10 m. or less. A formula is obtained which relates the frequency of the tone to the inner radius of the vortex. This formula is amenable to experimental verification.

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