In effect of the disastrous tornadoes the US has been experiencing, I will be posting a little bit about weather, specifically extreme weather, over the next week or so. As many of you probably don’t know, I’m a weather enthusiast. I actually own a weather station that is stationed in my backyard, but that’s for another post.
I did some research about what was causing these tornadoes to form at this rate and intensity. This was taken from this blog post by csmonitor.com:
What has been triggering this Spring’s spate of severe storms and chart-busting tornadoes?
The North Atlantic Oscillation, a see-saw circulation pattern over the North Atlantic, is as good a place to start as any, some researchers say.
The NAO has fallen into general pattern, during the past 23 months, that acts as a roadblock for the jet stream, a high-speed river of air energized by the temperature difference between polar air to the north and warmer air to the south. The jet stream in effect steers storm systems from west to east across North America.
Over the past 14 months, the jet stream’s typical path across the Atlantic “has been blocked more often than it has in recorded history,” says Jeff Weber, a researcher at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., which oversees the National Center for Atmospheric Research there.
Because of the way the jet stream is acting lately, it is creating very strong supercell thunderstorms. Supercells are a specific type of thunderstorms that create tornadoes. There are the only type that do so. They usually have a specific shape to them and can easily be pointed out. Supercells look extremely menacing and might look like this image below.
A tornado won’t form without rotation. Once a supercell has rotation, it becomes a prime candidate for producing tornadoes. The jet stream, when aligned right, helps supercells rotate. This, as is evident in what is happening, is can result in very dangerous conditions.
A tornado forms from a wall cloud of a supercell thunderstorm. A wall cloud is a protrusion of the storm that is a little closer to the ground than the rest of the storm. A funnel forms from the wall cloud and rotates. When a tornado forms, it is called a “touchdown”. The only way you can see a tornado is of course from the debris it picks up.
Well, I hope you learned something in this post. I happen to be interested in tornadoes and I like them when the don’t hurt anyone or cause a lot of damage.
To wrap this up, I have a question for you. If you saw a tornado forming not to far away from you, what would be your first reaction? What would be running through you mind?