Supercell tornados are the common and are so-named because they are directly associated with a large thunderstorm atmospheric scientists term a supercell. There have been plenty of observations of these "classics tornados, but much remains unknown as to how they form.
For example, the pressure and wind speed within a tornado have never been measured due to the difficulties of trying to place equipment within a narrow, moving, unpredictable and generally dangerous tornado funnel.
An alternate (and safer) method is to model a tornado with a computer simulation from which measurements can be easily derived. The vertical red tube below depicts the possible location of a tornado funnel cloud (as measured by its vorticity). The simulation that produced the data for this image was run on the Cray 2 supercomputer at NCSA.
The larger grey surface depicts the thunderstorm cloud. The colored contour lines represent rapidly rising or sinking air that is associated with the storm. The vertical red tube in this visualization depicts the possible location of a tornado funnel cloud (as measured by the vorticity or the twisting of airflow).
The simulation that produced the data for this image was run on the Cray 2 supercomputer at NCSA.
Robert Wilhelmson, Dept. of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
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