This blog provides commentary on interesting geological events occurring around the world in the context of my own work. This work is, broadly, geological fluid dynamics. The events that I highlight here are those that resonate with my professional life and ideas, and my goal is to interpret them in the context of ideas I've developed in my research. The blog does not represent any particular research agenda. It is written on a personal basis and does not seek to represent the University of Illinois, where I am a professor of geology and physics. Enjoy Geology in Motion! I would be glad to be alerted to geologic events of interest to post here! I hope that this blog can provide current event materials that will make geology come alive.

Banner image is by Ludie Cochrane..

Susan Kieffer can be contacted at s1kieffer at gmail.com

Monday, May 30, 2011

Tornado Alley--US and Canada

From: http://www.weather.com/blog/weather/8_12879.html

Google "Tornado Alley"-- you typically get maps that are restricted to the US, such as the one at the left.  Do tornados start and stop at our borders? No, Tornado Alley does extend into Canada (right), and some tornados originate in northeastern Mexico; the storm that spawned the large Eagle Pass, TX, tornado in 2007 produced a tornado in Mexico before moving into the US.

*Moisture for these storms originates in the Gulf of Mexico, and it is pulled northward where a trough of low pressure often sets up east of the Rockies in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The area of enhanced tornadoes in Ontario is enhanced by the flow of cool air from Lakes Huron, Erie and Ontario.  Tornados in Canada may be under reported because of the low population density in places.  On average, Canada has about 80 tornadoes per year compared to nearly 1300 in the US, and 2 deaths/year compared to the average of 62/year in the US. One F5 tornado occurred in Canada, the Elie, Manitoba, tornado of June 22, 2007.

*This information from http://www.weather.com/blog/weather/8_12879.html

From the website of the National Climatic Data, Asheville, North Carolina, http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/severeweather/tornadoes.html Image location: http://www.ncdc.noa)
Although tornados are more frequent in the US than elsewhere in the world, they are not unique to the US. 

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