Problem of the Tornado: Mechanical Quandries

The mechanical mystery of the tornado involves two questions:

It's often stated (even by scientists) that the rotation of the earth, through the coriolis acceleration, is what gives a tornado its spin. However, if this were true, then there should never be a tornado in the northern hemisphere that turns in an anticyclonic sense. Yet such tornadoes do occur and they are not rare. For instance, in 1980 seven tornadoes struck Grand Island, Nebraska in a single day. Three of these turned in an anticyclonic sense.

Before pursuing these two mechanical questions, let's do two other things. First, define a bunch of mechanical terms to help the novice reader of this material.


Second, let me examine one further mechanical quandry regarding the tornado on the next web page.

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