Since the early 1960's, meteorologists have studied severe storms with the aid of numerical models. These computer models are programmed to solve the mathematical equations describing the flow of air in the atmosphere including the development and evolution of storms. These equations describe changes in wind, temperature, pressure, water vapor amount, cloud water amount, etc. at selected points in the atmosphere. For example, a modeler might start solving the equations at some time T, calculating values at the selected points 10 seconds later. Using these new values, the solution can be computed at time T + 20 seconds. This process is often continued for hours as storms grow and decay within the modeled atmosphere.

Today scientists produce billions of numbers during a single storm simulation and this continues to increase as computer power grows. Visualization of this data is used to understand what these numbers are describing and why some storms are severe and others are not. In this module some of these visualizations are used in discussing the behavior of simulated storms and their relationship to storms seen in nature.

Last Update:09/16/99
Illustrations and visualizations help explain these powerful storms which are the most likely to produce strong tornadoes.

Convective Lines
Convective line initiation, squall lines, and non-supercell thunderstorms which produce tornadoes will be discussed

Severe Storm Forecasting
How severe storm modeling has impacted weather forecasting.

Cyclic Storms
Terms for using data resources. CD-ROM available.
Credits and Acknowledgments for WW2010.
Department of Atmospheric Sciences (DAS) at
the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.