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The Discovery of the Downburst: T. T. Fujita's Contribution

James W. Wilson
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Roger M. Wakimoto
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T. Theodore Fujita proposed the existence of a small-scale diverging wind feature that could cause damaging winds at the surface. He also proposed that it was responsible for a number of aircraft crashes when encountered on takeoff or landing. This paper describes the scientific discoveries Fujita made documenting the existence of this wind shear phenomenon that he named the downburst. It describes events that led to the remarkable reduction in aircraft accidents and saving of lives because of the discovery of the downburst. It is also intended to give the reader insight into the man himself.

*National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado; the National Center for Atmospheric Research is sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

+University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California

Corresponding author address: Dr. James Wilson, NCAR/ATD, P.O. Box 3000, Boulder, CO 80307. E-mail: jwilson@ucar.edu.

T. Theodore Fujita proposed the existence of a small-scale diverging wind feature that could cause damaging winds at the surface. He also proposed that it was responsible for a number of aircraft crashes when encountered on takeoff or landing. This paper describes the scientific discoveries Fujita made documenting the existence of this wind shear phenomenon that he named the downburst. It describes events that led to the remarkable reduction in aircraft accidents and saving of lives because of the discovery of the downburst. It is also intended to give the reader insight into the man himself.

*National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado; the National Center for Atmospheric Research is sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

+University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California

Corresponding author address: Dr. James Wilson, NCAR/ATD, P.O. Box 3000, Boulder, CO 80307. E-mail: jwilson@ucar.edu.
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