Author Topic: Tornadoes and tornado look-a-likes  (Read 10750 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Jeff Brislane

  • Guest
Tornadoes and tornado look-a-likes
« on: 25 January 2007, 11:58:34 AM »
Carrying on from the discussion of the following structure:



to not break away from the original intent of the topic, this thread has started and perhaps other examples posted.



John,

Quote
The use of the word does not make it correct rather for a lack of better words to describe this rather unusual feature

If you don't mean to imply that it's a tornado than don't call it one. A better word to describe it would be scud. You could call it scud until it's proven to be a tornado without mis-implying anything.

I will say no more than this. Tornadoes have certain dynamical features that are always present. Even though the atmosphere is world wide, air as a fluid still behaves in a predictable way in relation to all other factors no matter where you are on earth. Australia does not have unique atmospheric behaviour.

Jeff.

« Last Edit: 05 March 2007, 12:48:32 PM by Michael Bath »

Jeff Brislane

  • Guest
Re: Tornadoes and tornado look-a-likes
« Reply #1 on: 30 January 2007, 11:13:56 AM »
Quote
The word "tornado" is an altered form of the Spanish word tronada, which means "thunderstorm". This in turn was taken from the Latin tonare, meaning "to thunder". It most likely reached its present form through a combination of the Spanish tronada and tornar ("to turn")

Enough said there.

I cant agree with your assessment of scud due to the structure....its too organised at too lower level. There is definitely something more at work here, and i suspect that it could be due to a pressure lowering mechanism within the storm. Whether this happens to a vortex of some form, or a potent updraft i am unable to tell with the data presented. Or it could be something else too.

As for the second statement i will say this: according to the Encyclopaedia Brittanica, Turbulent flow is:
Fluid flow in which the fluid undergoes irregular fluctuations, or mixing. The speed of the fluid at a point is continuously undergoing changes in magnitude and direction, which results in swirling and eddying as the bulk of the fluid moves in a specific direction. And is defined as: The motion of a fluid having local velocities and pressures that fluctuate randomly. Notice that last word there. All flow in the atmosphere excluding the few cms over the surface, and high altitude flow, is considered to be turbulent. Now according to Prof Min Chong, Head of Fluid Mechanics at Melbourne University : "turbulent flow is impossible to predict, compare or model". Now considering that air as a fluid behaves according to the factors presented in the Navier-Stokes equation(within reason), its behaviour also depends on topographical behaviours(roughness), viscousity which varies with temperature and pressure and moisture, and motion within the flow just to name a few. Now what is to say that in all occurences tornadoes are in identitical conditions(of a certain dynamic nature) and cant possibly occur otherwise? Nothing. What says that there arent occurences there that arent yet discovered? Again the same answer. Every atmospheric situation is actually unique, it would be a good idea to remember it. For a science that is still learning more and more we are awfully cynical every time a new idea or strange feature is presented.

John

John,

Firstly, what is your point in posting the origons of the word Tornado? What does that have to do with this topic? It doesn't matter in the slightest where the word comes from, it only matters how it's meaning is now understood.

Secondly, in this mixed up statement
Quote
I cant agree with your assessment of scud due to the structure....its too organised at too lower level. There is definitely something more at work here, and i suspect that it could be due to a pressure lowering mechanism within the storm. Whether this happens to a vortex of some form, or a potent updraft i am unable to tell with the data presented. Or it could be something else too.
you are suggesting that it might not be a vortex? So you agree that it's likely scud unless proven otherwise? Do you have a definate opinion one way or the other?

Thirdly,
Quote
air as a fluid still behaves in a predicatable way in relation to all other factors no matter where you are on earth
I did say in this regard that it was in relation to all other factors. But without wading into meaningless scientific mumbo jumbo, what I was really implying is that we don't have a unique enviroment in Australia which can produce tornadic events unlike anywhere else on earth.

Lastly, can you explain to me what you are trying to say in the bold part of this statement
Quote
Every atmospheric situation is actually unique, it would be a good idea to remember it

Jeff.

« Last Edit: 30 January 2007, 11:27:16 AM by Jeff Brislane »

Offline Mike

  • Australian Severe Weather Moderators
  • Wedge tornado F5
  • *
  • Posts: 1,348
  • Gender: Male
  • Dry season here...boring!
    • http://StormscapesDarwin.com
Re: Tornadoes and tornado look-a-likes
« Reply #2 on: 31 January 2007, 05:31:09 AM »
I'm putting my 20c worth in, but from what the photo shows - and I may be proven wrong so don't all get on the horse - it doesn't look like a tornado at all.  For one thing you've got a hill obscuring the most important part of it - the bottom - and you've got some billowing near the LH side and from what i've seen of tornado footage, it just does not look like the base is rotating - the clouds just look like they're hanging underneath...?

 It could be lowering of some sort, but jeez i'd be hesitant to call it a tornado just by viewing that if it was me.  Was the lowering observed for a much longer period after this photo was taken to see what it was?

I just wouldn't be confident in saying it's a tornado, but like i said i'm no expert and this is just an answer to what i actually see. :)

Let's keep a cool head guys!

Mike
Darwin, Northern Territory.
StormscapesDarwin.com
Lightning Research 2010/14

Offline Mike

  • Australian Severe Weather Moderators
  • Wedge tornado F5
  • *
  • Posts: 1,348
  • Gender: Male
  • Dry season here...boring!
    • http://StormscapesDarwin.com
Re: Tornadoes and tornado look-a-likes
« Reply #3 on: 31 January 2007, 06:28:49 AM »
Okay, I sent this picture to two meteorologists.  One here and one in USA.  The meteorologist in USA said this and i quote:

"Definitely not a tornado.  Looks like non-rotating scud that's not even attached to the updraft.   Although i can't really identify a definite updraft base anywhere in the picture, except maybe to the far right off in the distance.  A potential tornado-producing updraft base has a very heavy 'solid' appearance to it..in the distance it looks like an unbroken flat line.

If this picture was even of a non-supercell tornado there would be at least a definite updraft base, unless it's above the low cloudiness, which is most unlikely based on what I'm seeing in the picture"
 

He also added a moment ago...."Actually upon closer analysis of the picture - there may be an updraft base (and i doubt it) if the feature were a tornado it wold have a more laminar appearance.  By definition though, it likely is a wall cloud since by the definition of 'wall cloud' it does not have to be rotating.  It can merely be a cloud lower than the ambient cloud base oftne caused by evaporational cooling'

The meteorologist from here says:

"Nice picture but definitely not a tornado - wrong shape and wrong texture.  Most likely scud - cloud beneath the main cloud base.  It could possibly be associated with a thunderstorm downdraught or updraft'

There you have it.  Two expert opinions with the same result.
« Last Edit: 31 January 2007, 06:35:40 AM by Mike »
Darwin, Northern Territory.
StormscapesDarwin.com
Lightning Research 2010/14

Offline Mike

  • Australian Severe Weather Moderators
  • Wedge tornado F5
  • *
  • Posts: 1,348
  • Gender: Male
  • Dry season here...boring!
    • http://StormscapesDarwin.com
Re: Tornadoes and tornado look-a-likes
« Reply #4 on: 31 January 2007, 07:41:28 AM »
No problems, John.  I'm not taking sides on this at all.  I think all the comments were right in some respects and I'm very careful what I say because I just don't know enough about the physics and science aspects of thunderstorms - especially the finer points. I thought i'd just send the photo off to a couple of mates who are experts in this field and see what they said.

I thought it important to get back on track with regards the photo and hope the answers helped all that have read and seen the photo.

Mike
Darwin, Northern Territory.
StormscapesDarwin.com
Lightning Research 2010/14

Offline Jimmy Deguara

  • Australian and Tornado Alley storm chaser
  • Administrator
  • Wedge tornado F5
  • *
  • Posts: 2,218
  • Gender: Male
  • Storm Chaser since 1993, Tornado Alley 2001
    • Australia Severe Weather
Re: Tornadoes and tornado look-a-likes
« Reply #5 on: 05 February 2007, 08:46:35 AM »
John,

There are quite a few who have been in the field chasing in Australia for 10 years and have observed various bases and scud clouds. Yes we have been tricked in the past by some features. But we have asked the appropriate parties who have far more experience and it made sense. Are you now suggesting this feature cannot be scud? Also now that you have lost faith in the possibility of a tornado, are you enquiring about it being a wall cloud? I very much dount it is a wall cloud.

If the question about this feature had been asked to someone in the Bureau ie in Australia as compared to someone in he US, I would not give it as much credibility. Why? Because US researchers and meteorologists in the National Weather Service have a culture that includes storm chasing - getting out there in the field. They see far more of our features than we will ever do. Why? Because they have far more moisture and far more storms - be it storms popping up along the dryline, off the high terrain and Rocky Mountains, to convergence zones, upper air disturbances, cold fronts, retreating cold fronts and so forth. Believe me, this person who saw the pictures, given he was speaking scientifically, did not even blink an eye-lid in responding. Not even the word possible being used - just straight out response. They have seen so much of what hardly observe here that it is seems like second nature.

And just out of interest, there are a couple of other persons who follows this fairy tale Australia is the last undiscovered wilderness crap - almost like forming the flat earth society. I have even heard of triangular shaped tornadoes which was fed to a particular organisation who on the most part would have believed this crap - almost to the state of worshiping their discovery. We have to be very careful that we don't approach a concept without sound evidence and backing down an artistic line of creative thinking.

The argument being debated here in this topic are from yesteryear - the current science is about blob theory and tornado genesis. I have no problems debating the issue, but let's find some evidence to support our statements.

Regards,

Jimmy Deguara
« Last Edit: 05 February 2007, 09:38:15 AM by Jimmy Deguara »
-------------------------------------
Australian Severe Weather
www.australiasevereweather.com

Australian Thunderbolt Tours
www.thunderbolttours.com

Phone  0408 020468  (International :  61  2  408 020468)

Jeff Brislane

  • Guest
Re: Tornadoes and tornado look-a-likes
« Reply #6 on: 10 February 2007, 09:22:31 AM »
John,

I used the statement "meaningless mumbo jumbo" because on this forum 95% of the users wouldn't have clue what you are saying most of the time. To these people a whole lot of words and scientific terminologies mean bopkus. Seriously we can discuss features like the one that is the topic of this conversation with clear and understandable language.


I think your perspective is so hard to understand because it is constantly changing.

You say this

Quote
And for the record: NOBODY can be sure about any analysis of still imagery of a dynamic enviroment.

But you also said this about the images from this event
 
Quote
I cant agree with your assessment of scud due to the structure....its too organised at too lower level. There is definitely something more at work here, and i suspect that it could be due to a pressure lowering mechanism within the storm. Whether this happens to a vortex of some form, or a potent updraft i am unable to tell with the data presented. Or it could be something else too.

Quote
Definitely striations within the vortex are visible in images 5,7,8,9 and within the disapation stages there is a horizontal clear column of rotating air.


Offline David C

  • Global Moderator
  • Barrel tornado F4
  • *
  • Posts: 643
  • Gender: Male
    • Thunderbolt Tours Storm Chasing Adventures
Re: Tornadoes and tornado look-a-likes
« Reply #7 on: 10 February 2007, 10:51:57 AM »
How about this for a definition:

"Tornado: A small mass of air that whirls rapidly about an almost vertical axis; made visible by clouds and by dust and debris sucked into the system."

>> http://www.ametsoc.org/amsedu/WES/glossary.html#T

Better defintion is:

Glossary of Meteotology, update (Glickman 2000):

    Tornado -- 1. A violently rotating column of air, in contact with the ground, either pendant from a cumuliform cloud or underneath a cumuliform cloud, and often (but not always) visible as a funnel cloud.


Storm Chaser,
Thunderbolt Tours - USA & Australia Storm Chase Tours
www.thunderbolttours.com

Offline Mike

  • Australian Severe Weather Moderators
  • Wedge tornado F5
  • *
  • Posts: 1,348
  • Gender: Male
  • Dry season here...boring!
    • http://StormscapesDarwin.com
Re: Tornadoes and tornado look-a-likes
« Reply #8 on: 10 February 2007, 11:29:58 AM »
Mmmm...I had a great reply to this post but someone has deleted it!  I can't remember what was said in full but here goes:

I think one important fact that may be overlooked here is that photographs actually 'lie' to the naked eye.  They are images of subjects that are in 2D and not in 3D as they occur naturally.

A shot such as the one in question obviously sparked some debate about what was going on there, but even as the meteorologists stated - even they can't be sure - why?  Because it's a still 2 dimensional image of something in three dimensions and has motion occuring naturally.

Whilst experienced chasers - and non chasers for that matter can 'decipher' what 'could' be happening in this image based on in their field experience, meteorological knowledge, interpretation of cloud formations, wind/Skew/sounding charts - sometimes people get it wrong!  Look how many times someone encountered a supercell with crap winds, low CAPE and other variables! 

I think it has to be remembered that there are folk on the forum who do have the scientific knowledge to voice an opinion - be it expert or not - and those of us who have a fairly good idea of what all the information means, but still have a problem interpreting some of the language used - and yes, sometimes it seems as though there's only a handful of people on the forum who know what the other is saying and can apply it - but that's exactly what a forum invites us to do - voice opinions - whether right or wrong - and get feedback from those who DO know what they're talking about and learning from it.

Hell, I could easily ramble of some indices for you right now and give an opinion about the storm likelihood now, but someone will jump on the sounding and research what I've posted and cane my butt for telling fibs!  I don't mind who posts what, be you scientist or humble weekend chaser - it's all revelant and if it's wrong you'll certainly know about it 5 minutes after you post your topic!!!

It's all good and yeah i like the Glickman 2000 explanation to a tornado!

Mike
Darwin, Northern Territory.
StormscapesDarwin.com
Lightning Research 2010/14

Offline Jimmy Deguara

  • Australian and Tornado Alley storm chaser
  • Administrator
  • Wedge tornado F5
  • *
  • Posts: 2,218
  • Gender: Male
  • Storm Chaser since 1993, Tornado Alley 2001
    • Australia Severe Weather
Re: Tornadoes and tornado look-a-likes
« Reply #9 on: 11 February 2007, 03:52:15 AM »
Ok,

We'll try to remain on topic here in regards to the "Tornadoes and tornado look-a-likes". Some may have other examples of this. In fact, although it may be suspcious and we cannot be absolutely sure, the rapdily rising scud on the Lithgow supercell 7th February 2007 seems to have grabbed a fair bit of attention in terms of supercell behaviour. Claims of tornado has already been mentioned which I questioned. I guess in the case at least, the existence of a mesocyclone and developing wall cloud meant that such claims of possible tornadoes was warranted. But the conculsion that it was without sound evidence annoys me. Once again wishful thinking.

Regards,

Jimmy Deguara
-------------------------------------
Australian Severe Weather
www.australiasevereweather.com

Australian Thunderbolt Tours
www.thunderbolttours.com

Phone  0408 020468  (International :  61  2  408 020468)

Offline Mike

  • Australian Severe Weather Moderators
  • Wedge tornado F5
  • *
  • Posts: 1,348
  • Gender: Male
  • Dry season here...boring!
    • http://StormscapesDarwin.com
Re: Tornadoes and tornado look-a-likes
« Reply #10 on: 12 February 2007, 02:18:05 PM »
Indeed, indeed. I agree with all of you.  Scientific evaluation enhanced by meteorological expertise and observation. THAT'S what it is all about. Sometimes knee-jerk observations get everyone in a fit!  But you know, there's been times when i've seen stuff occurring and kept my trap shut until i've researched it upon review!  It's all good and it's healthy for the forum - someone once said to me that opinions are like arm pits - they both stink!

Thankfully there's enogh people on the forum to give us accurate info on the events at hand and in reality that's exactly the outcome everyone expects - health debate.  I for one am thankfull for joining the forum just for that!

Mike :)
Darwin, Northern Territory.
StormscapesDarwin.com
Lightning Research 2010/14

Offline Michael Bath

  • storm chaser
  • Administrator
  • Wedge tornado F5
  • *
  • Posts: 1,602
  • Gender: Male
    • Australian Severe Weather
Re: Tornadoes and tornado look-a-likes
« Reply #11 on: 05 March 2007, 06:35:38 AM »
Photographed a similar sort of structure last weekend about 30ks north of Glen Innes:









I only photographed this because it reminded me of the ones posted by Ottley (at the start of this thread)



« Last Edit: 05 March 2007, 12:49:18 PM by Michael Bath »
Location: Mcleans Ridges, NSW Northern Rivers
Australian Severe Weather:   http://australiasevereweather.com/
Lightning Photography:   http://www.lightningphotography.com/
Early Warning Network: http://www.ewn.com.au
Contact: Michael Bath

Offline nzstorm

  • Elephant Trunk F2
  • *
  • Posts: 115
  • Gender: Male
Re: Tornadoes and tornado look-a-likes
« Reply #12 on: 05 March 2007, 10:33:11 AM »
A tornado look-a-like here.  This is a Texas supecell but the cloud lowering is scud.

Steven Williams
Storm Chaser

Offline Mike

  • Australian Severe Weather Moderators
  • Wedge tornado F5
  • *
  • Posts: 1,348
  • Gender: Male
  • Dry season here...boring!
    • http://StormscapesDarwin.com
Re: Tornadoes and tornado look-a-likes
« Reply #13 on: 05 March 2007, 10:48:07 AM »
Interesting photo there Stephen.  You know to the untrained observer you'd swear that was a tornado!  But how things can deceive one's eyes!  From footage I've seen of tonadoes you do see scud rotating around from where the vortex actually lowers - a natural thing i would presume since cloud would be drawn around the main 'unseen' shaft and rotated anyway.  I guess video footage and a series of photos always help to decipher these things.  Nice photo but!

Mike
Darwin, Northern Territory.
StormscapesDarwin.com
Lightning Research 2010/14

Offline Jimmy Deguara

  • Australian and Tornado Alley storm chaser
  • Administrator
  • Wedge tornado F5
  • *
  • Posts: 2,218
  • Gender: Male
  • Storm Chaser since 1993, Tornado Alley 2001
    • Australia Severe Weather
Re: Tornadoes and tornado look-a-likes
« Reply #14 on: 08 March 2007, 04:46:24 PM »
Hi,

How do you like this for a tornado! Looks-like-one:)







Unbelievable! Finally I have been able to get a situation when the vapour from a power station large chimney meets the base of the clouds.

Regards,

Jimmy Deguara
-------------------------------------
Australian Severe Weather
www.australiasevereweather.com

Australian Thunderbolt Tours
www.thunderbolttours.com

Phone  0408 020468  (International :  61  2  408 020468)