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This is a research paper which examines a weather phenomenon in details. The paper examines the characteristics types and damages caused by tornados. The paper will make use of literature review to gather data on tornados. Special care has been taken to ensure that only the best and most credible materials are used as resources in writing this research paper. The paper gives the definition of tornados then moves on to give the common characteristics of tornados and finally examines the types of tornados which commonly form. The paper is written in a simple language which can be used in future for gaining more knowledge on the weather issues. The paper presents a topic which is quite relevant to the current time where the industrial effects are costing our environment a great deal. The relevance of this topic makes it a significant one to write about.

Simply defined a tornado is a column of wind which rotates violently. The column of wind must be in contact with the ground and often seen to have the shape of a funnel. The column of wind acts as a point of link between the ground and the clouds.  A tornado is formed as a result of accumulation wind which takes time and builds up to make a strong moving funnel shaped column of wind which often moves at very high speeds causing destruction proportional to its strength wherever it moves. The next section reviews the characteristics of the tornadoes.

The characteristics of tornados can be examined under the following sub headings: size and shape, the appearances, their rotation ability and sound & seismology.

Size and shape

It has been observed that most of the tornados take the shape of a funnel with a small cloud at the base (the ground link).  The funnel link then moves up to the sky in the cloud in a uniform manner; the funnel might not be visible all the time as during the storm the funnel may be obscured by the presence of rain and dust.


It is reported that tornadoes can take a range of colors. The colors will depend on the environment in which the tornado is formed. It is reported that tornados which form in the dry lands are usually not easily seen and are marked with moving debris at the ground link of the tornado. The tornados take the color of the debris swept along with it as it forms along the ground. Generally, if the tornado is travelling over the land and picks up little or no dust then it will take up a grey color. If the tornado is travelling over water mass then the color turns blue and at times very white. Tornadoes travelling over Great Plains often turn red because of the reddish soil covering the ground. Tornados often turn very white when they travel over grounds which are covered by ice (Walter 175).  

Rotation, sound and seismology

The tornados normally rotate in a cyclonical direction though it has been reported that there are a number of others which rotate anti-cyclonical direction (Greg 1). Tornados have been reported to produce various sounds. The most popular sounds reported to be produced by the tornados include that of a freight train, sounds similar to those of a might waterfall, and sounds similar to a jet taking off at a very close proximity. At times the sound can be a combination of all these sounds producing as scaring sound which at times as been hard. It has been reported that many tornados are not audible at far distances and the transmission and audibility of the sound has been associated with the atmospheric conditions.

It is reported that the sound produced by the tornados are due to turbulent eddies which are produced by the strong winds as they interact with the debris on the ground. The funnel clouds have also been reported to make a significant contribution to the production of the sounds. The funnel clouds have been reported to, “whistling, whining, humming, or the buzzing of innumerable bees or electricity, or more or less harmonic sound,” though many of the tornadoes are claimed to produce, “a continuous, deep rumbling, or an irregular sound of noise” (Abdul 214).

Apart from the audible sound, tornadoes have been said to produce some inaudible sounds which are only identified by scientific instruments. Howard (1998) the following in relation to inaudible tornado sounds:

Unlike audible signatures, tornadic signatures have been isolated; due to the long distance propagation of low-frequency sound, efforts are ongoing to develop tornado prediction and detection devices with additional value in understanding tornado morphology, dynamics, and creation (Howard 3).

It has been reported that tornados are produce some kind of light. However, it has been explained that this is usually due to reflection which takes place against the tornado funnel. The tornados have been reported to exhibit variations in the temperatures pressure and moisture. It has been reported that the temperatures decrease as the distance to the tornado decreases (Lee 56).

Electromagnetic effects

It has been reported that tornadoes emit magnetic rays. This has been because of similarities which have been observed between lightning and tornados. According to Perez et al., (1997):

There are observed correlations between tornadoes and patterns of lightning. Tornadic storms do not contain more lightning than other storms and some tornadic cells never produce lightning. More often than not, overall cloud-to-ground (CG) lightning activity decreases as a tornado reaches the surface and returns to the baseline level when the tornado lifts. In many cases, intense tornadoes and thunderstorms exhibit an increased and anomalous dominance of positive polarity CG discharges. (Perez 45)

It has been argued that electromagnetic and lightning have little effect on what drives tornados.

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