Encyclopedia of Natural Hazards

2013 Edition
| Editors: Peter T. Bobrowsky


Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-4399-4_54


Tornado: 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.

Severe thunderstorm: A thunderstorm producing one or more of the following; hail of diameter 25.4 mm (1 in.) or greater; wind gusts of 25 ms−1 or greater; one or more tornadoes.

Buoyant instability: A state of the atmosphere such that an air parcel, when displaced vertically, would be accelerated in the direction of the displacement.

Temperature lapse rate: The rate of decrease of temperature with height in the atmosphere.

Vorticity: A measure of the local rotation in a fluid.

Wind shear: The local variation of the wind vector or any of its components in a given direction.


Tornadoes are arguably the most violent of all meteorological phenomena on Earth. Indeed, wind speeds estimated from observed damage, or as measured by radar, may be higher than those generated by...

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ExeterUK
  2. 2.TORROThelwallUK