Climatology, storm morphologies, and environments of tornadoes in the British Isles: 1980–2012

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Mulder, Kelsey J. ; Schultz, David M. (2015)

A climatology is developed for tornadoes during 1980–2012 in the British Isles, defined in this article as England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man. The climatology includes parent storm type, interannual variability, annual and diurnal cycles, intensities, oc- currence of outbreaks (defined as three or more tornadoes in the same day), geographic distribution, and environmental conditions derived from proximity soundings of tornadoes. Tornado reports are from the Tornado and Storm Research Organization (TORRO). Over the 33 years, there were a mean of 34.3 tor- nadoes and 19.5 tornado days (number of days in which at least one tornado occurred) annually. Tornadoes and tornado outbreaks were most commonly produced from linear storms, defined as radar signatures at least 75 km long and approximately 3 times as long as wide. Most (78%) tornadoes occurred in England. The probability of a tornado within 10 km of a point was highest in the south, southeast, and west of England. On average, there were 2.5 tornado outbreaks every year. Where intensity was known, 95% of tornadoes were classified as F0 or F1 with the remainder classified as F2. There were no tornadoes rated F3 or greater during this time period. Tornadoes occurred throughout the year with a maximum from May through October. Finally, tornadoes tended to occur in low-CAPE, high-shear environments. Tornadoes in the British Isles were difficult to predict using only sounding-derived parameters because there were no clear thresholds between null, tornadic, outbreak, and significant tornado cases.
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