Simulation recreates supercell that birthed El Reno tornado -

Simulation recreates supercell that birthed El Reno tornado


As the 2017 tornado season quickly approaches, scientists have been making strides toward understanding how the most massive and deadly tornadoes develop. Today’s Video of the Day comes from researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who have used supercomputers to recreate the supercell thunderstorm that produced the deadly 2013 El Reno tornado.

In May 2013, the F5 El Reno tornado struck Oklahoma after a four-day marathon of tornado activity. The simulation, created by a team of researchers led by Leigh Orf, illustrates the moving parts within the supercell as it developed.

The official release contained the following step-by-step breakdown of the simulation in stages:

Sequence one: The cloud field is examined from above, then from the south, during the phase of the storm where the tornado is strongest

Sequence two: The full model domain is shown, looking from the south. The full cloud field is shown, and then zoomed twice to show highlight the difference between the size of the storm and the size of the tornado that it spawned.

Sequence three: The cloud and rain fields are animated in time during the tornado’s formation, and several minutes into the tornado’s life cycle. The dark grey field is rain, and the lighter grey is cloud.

Sequences four and five: Parcels are released near the ground during the tornado’s maintenance phase where it is producing EF5-strength winds at ground level. Parcels are colored by source region.

Sequence six: Vorticity magnitude is shown as a volume rendered field during the tornado’s maintenance phase. Parcels are also released along the storm’s cold pool / environment boundary near the ground, revealing the flow of the Streamwise Vorticity Current, a new feature identified in this research.

Sequence seven: The cloud and rain field of a supercell that produces a multiple vortex EF5 tornado is animated. This sequence is from the highest resolution simulation run to date (20 meter grid spacing).

By Rory Arnold, Staff Writer

Source: University of Wisconsin-Madison

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