Climatological aspects of notable tornado events in Chile

Julio C. Marín aDepartment of Meteorology, Universidad de Valparaíso, Chile
bCentro de Estudios Atmosféricos y Cambio Climático (CEACC), U. de Valparaíso, Chile

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Felipe Gutiérrez aDepartment of Meteorology, Universidad de Valparaíso, Chile

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Vittorio A. Gensini cDepartment of Earth, Atmosphere, and Environment, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois

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Bradford S. Barrett dRetired, Raleigh, North Carolina

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Diana Pozo aDepartment of Meteorology, Universidad de Valparaíso, Chile
bCentro de Estudios Atmosféricos y Cambio Climático (CEACC), U. de Valparaíso, Chile

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Martín Jacques-Coper eDepartment of Geophysics, Universidad de Concepción, Chile
fCenter for Climate and Resilience Research (CR)2, Universidad de Concepción, Chile
gCenter for Oceanographic Research COPAS Coastal, Universidad de Concepción, Chile

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Daniel Veloso-Aguila hDepartment of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado

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Abstract

Tornadoes in Chile seem to develop in what are called “high-shear, low-CAPE” (HSLC) environments. An analysis of convective parameters from the ERA5 reanalysis during sixteen notable tornadoes in Chile showed that several increased markedly before the time of the reports. The significant tornado parameter (STP) was able to discriminate the timing and location of the tornadoes, even though it was not created with that goal. We established thresholds for the Severe Hazards in Environments with Reduced Buoyancy (SHERBE) parameter (≥1) and the STP (≤−0.3) to further identify days favorable for tornado activity in Chile. The SHERBE and STP parameters were then used to conduct a climatological analysis from 1959–2021 of the seasonal, interannual, and latitudinal variation of the environments that might favor tornadoes. Both parameters were found to have a strong annual cycle. The largest magnitudes of STP were found to be generally confined to south-central Chile, in agreement with the (sparse) tornado record. The probability of a day with both SHERBE and STP values beyond their thresholds was greatest between May and August, which aligns with the months with the most tornado reports. The number of days with both SHERBE and STP beyond their respective thresholds was found to fluctuate interanually. This result warrants further study given the known interannual variability of synoptic and mesoscale weather in Chile. The results of this study extend our understanding of tornado environments in Chile and provide insight into their spatio-temporal variability.

© 2024 American Meteorological Society. This is an Author Accepted Manuscript distributed under the terms of the default AMS reuse license. For information regarding reuse and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Julio C. Marín, julio.marin@meteo.uv.cl

Abstract

Tornadoes in Chile seem to develop in what are called “high-shear, low-CAPE” (HSLC) environments. An analysis of convective parameters from the ERA5 reanalysis during sixteen notable tornadoes in Chile showed that several increased markedly before the time of the reports. The significant tornado parameter (STP) was able to discriminate the timing and location of the tornadoes, even though it was not created with that goal. We established thresholds for the Severe Hazards in Environments with Reduced Buoyancy (SHERBE) parameter (≥1) and the STP (≤−0.3) to further identify days favorable for tornado activity in Chile. The SHERBE and STP parameters were then used to conduct a climatological analysis from 1959–2021 of the seasonal, interannual, and latitudinal variation of the environments that might favor tornadoes. Both parameters were found to have a strong annual cycle. The largest magnitudes of STP were found to be generally confined to south-central Chile, in agreement with the (sparse) tornado record. The probability of a day with both SHERBE and STP values beyond their thresholds was greatest between May and August, which aligns with the months with the most tornado reports. The number of days with both SHERBE and STP beyond their respective thresholds was found to fluctuate interanually. This result warrants further study given the known interannual variability of synoptic and mesoscale weather in Chile. The results of this study extend our understanding of tornado environments in Chile and provide insight into their spatio-temporal variability.

© 2024 American Meteorological Society. This is an Author Accepted Manuscript distributed under the terms of the default AMS reuse license. For information regarding reuse and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Julio C. Marín, julio.marin@meteo.uv.cl
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