Environmental Factors Related to Accumulated Tornado Energy on the Most Prolific Days in the Largest "Outbreaks"

Authors: Zoe Schroder*, Florida State University, James Elsner, Florida State University
Topics: Climatology and Meteorology, Physical Geography
Keywords: Tornado, Energy, Casualty, Outbreak,
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/3/2019
Start / End Time: 2:35 PM / 4:15 PM
Room: Stones Throw 2 - Slate, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Outbreaks that involve consecutive multiple days of many tornadoes often result in a large number of casualties. To better understand the relationship between environmental factors and casualties here we examine the collection of tornadoes occurring on days having the most tornadoes within the biggest outbreaks. We first identify the largest groups across space and time and then keep only the days with the most tornadoes in these large outbreaks. A climatology of these big days shows that they occur most frequently during April, May, and June across the central United States. Then, using accumulated tornado energy (ATE) as a metric of big day severity, we statistically examine how this metric is related to casualties and to environmental factors including convective available energy and shear. We find a significant relationship between ATE and shear as well as between ATE and an interaction between convective available potential energy and convective inhibition. We also find a significant relationship between casualty counts and the aforementioned environmental factors. The research contributes to understanding how casualties are linked to large-scale environmental conditions.

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