What causes a tornado?

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asked Mar 22 in Weather by Tweetybirdy (800 points)
What causes a tornado?

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answered Mar 25 by Gingervitis (7,160 points)
Tornadoes are caused by warm humid air colliding with cold dry air.

The denser cold air is pushed over the warm air, usually producing thunderstorms.

The warm air rises through the colder air, causing an updraft.

The updraft will begin to rotate if winds vary sharply in speed or direction.

Tornadoes develop from severe thunderstorms in warm, moist, unstable air along and ahead of cold fronts.

Such thunderstorms also may generate large hail and damaging winds.

When intense springtime storm systems produce large, persistent areas that support tornado development, major outbreaks can occur.

A hurricane is caused when warm moist air that is over water begins to rise.

When this occurs the rising air is then replaced by cooler air and this process continues to grow large clouds and thunderstorms.

These thunderstorms continue to grow and begin to rotate thanks to earth's Coriolis Effect.

For a hurricane to form, there needs to be warm ocean water and moist, humid air in the region.

When humid air is flowing upward at a zone of low pressure over warm ocean water, the water is released from the air as creating the clouds of the storm.

As it rises, the air in a hurricane rotates.

Storms do clear the air and clear and clean the air of particles, dust and other pollutants.

After a storm blows through or even a rainstorm you can usually smell a difference in the air and can usually breathe better as a result.

This is because of the storm that cleaned the air.

The rains and winds of thunderstorms often clear out particulate matter in the air.

Few sensations compare to the tangible freshness of the outdoors following the drama and violence of a big thunderstorm.

Often associated with a drop in temperature, such disturbances may also literally clear the air.

Thunderstorms are named and classified through a variety of data that the meteorologists collect.

In order to forecast thunderstorms, meteorologists use a variety of data.

Surface and upper air observations are studied to find areas of low level moisture and instability, and to determine how winds aloft might influence storm development.

Radar and satellites are used to track the storms once they do form.

The scientific name for lightning is fulminology.

Fulminology is the study of lightning.

Lightning is defined as a discharge of electricity between clouds and the earth seen as a bright flash followed by the sound of thunder heard.

The Thunderstorm is said to be a rain shower during which thunder is heard.

Volcanology is the study of volcanoes.

Lightning is a giant spark of electricity in the atmosphere between clouds, the air, or the ground.

In the early stages of development, air acts as an insulator between the positive and negative charges in the cloud and between the cloud and the ground.

Lightning is produced in thunderstorms when liquid and ice particles above the freezing level collide, and build up large electrical fields in the clouds.

Dry lightning is lightning that occurs without rain nearby.

The NOAA Storm Prediction Center routinely issues forecasts for dry lightning because this kind is more likely to cause forest fires.

Air is a very poor conductor of electricity and gets extremely hot when lightning passes through it.

In fact, lightning can heat the air it passes through to 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit (5 times hotter than the surface of the sun).

Lightning is so loud because the amount of electrical energy that flows from the cloud to the ground is so enormous: it's like a very big waterfall of electricity.

The louder the sound that you hear, the closer you are to the lightning.

Light travels through air much faster than sound.

Because lightning tends to hit tall objects, trees are likely targets.

They're especially prone to lightning strikes because electricity seeks the path of least resistance, and the sap and moisture inside a tree make it a better conductor than the surrounding air.

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