Researchers publish first major study of European tornadoes in 99 years

March 17, 2016
Credit: University of Manchester

Researchers from the University of Manchester have published a review of the current knowledge on tornadoes in Europe. The paper, the first of a series that will be published over the next year, is the first exhaustive study of the subject to be undertaken in nearly a century, and the scientists hope that it will lead to an increased understanding and more accurate forecasting.

Dr. Bogdan Antonescu and Professor David M. Schultz, in collaboration with Fiona Lomas and Thilo Kühne, felt the need to undertake the research as the threat of to Europe is not widely recognised, meaning that many national meteorological services do not even forecast them - this has resulted in an underestimate of the risk associated with tornadoes. There was also a lack of knowledge about the possible influence of climate change, as the current spatial and temporal distribution and intensity of tornadoes across Europe was not known.

They worked together to analyse all the articles on tornadoes published in peer-reviewed meteorological and atmospheric science journals since 1800, as well as reviewing other sources including case studies, annual reports, historical scientific papers, conference talks and tornado databases maintained by individual countries or organisations. The result is a synthesis of tornado observations across Europe over the past two centuries which they have used to produce a pan-European tornado climatology.

Professor David M. Schultz said "This research is a start at improved understanding of where tornadoes form in Europe. Once we know where tornadoes occur, we can start to better understand why they occur, and how we can do a better job forecasting them."

It is anticipated that the findings will encourage further discussions and stimulate the interest of the scientific community, national meteorological services and the public, as well as identifying new sources that would allow an extension of the current European database. The team behind the review also hope that it will lead to tornadoes being seen as a pan-European problem, rather than something to be tackled by individual countries.

Dr. Bogdan Antonescu said "To our knowledge, this is the first exhaustive study of the literature on tornadoes in Europe in nearly a century. This is really important if we want to understand European tornadoes and their associated risk."

Explore further: Alabama to be hub of scientific study of Southern tornadoes

More information: Bogdan Antonescu et al. Tornadoes in Europe: Synthesis of the observational datasets, Monthly Weather Review (2016). DOI: 10.1175/MWR-D-15-0298.1

Related Stories

Scientist creates 'micro-tornadoes'

May 14, 2007

Meteorologists concerned about a possible worldwide intensification of tornado activity may now be able to study tornadoes in the lab.

Recommended for you

Researchers solve the century-old mystery of Blood Falls

April 25, 2017

A research team led by the University of Alaska Fairbanks and Colorado College has solved a century-old mystery involving a famous red waterfall in Antarctica. New evidence links Blood Falls to a large source of salty water ...

Mystery of the missing mercury at the Great Salt Lake

April 25, 2017

Around 2010, the deep waters of Utah's Great Salt Lake contained high levels of toxic methylmercury. Mercury measurements in waterfowl surrounding the lake led to a rare human consumption advisory for ducks.

Research shows global warming making oceans more toxic

April 25, 2017

Climate change is predicted to cause a series of maladies for world oceans including heating up, acidification, and the loss of oxygen. A newly published study published online in the April 24 edition of the Proceedings ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.