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Title: Tornadoes in Southeast South America: Mesoscale to Planetary-Scale Environments
Abstract

A multiscale analysis of the environment supporting tornadoes in southeast South America (SESA) was conducted based on a self-constructed database of 74 reports. Composites of environmental and convective parameters from ERA5 were generated relative to tornado events. The distribution of the reported tornadoes maximizes over the Argentine plains, while events are rare close to the Andes and south of Sierras de Córdoba. Events are relatively common in all seasons except in winter. Proximity environment evolution shows enhanced instability, deep-layer vertical wind shear, storm-relative helicity, reduced convective inhibition, and a lowered lifting condensation level before or during the development of tornadic storms in SESA. No consistent signal in low-level wind shear is seen during tornado occurrence. However, a curved hodograph with counterclockwise rotation is present. The Significant Tornado Parameter (STP) is also maximized prior to tornadogenesis, most strongly associated with enhanced CAPE. Differences in the convective environment between tornadoes in SESA and the U.S. Great Plains are discussed. On the synoptic scale, tornado events are associated with a strong anomalous trough crossing the southern Andes that triggers lee cyclogenesis, subsequently enhancing the South American low-level jet (SALLJ) that increases moisture advection to support deep convection. This synoptic trough also enhances vertical shear that, along with enhanced instability, sustains organized convection capable of producing tornadic storms. At planetary scales, the tornadic environment is modulated by Rossby wave trains that appear to be forced by convection near northern Australia. Madden–Julian oscillation phase 3 preferentially occurs 1–2 weeks ahead of tornado occurrence.

Significance Statement

The main goal of this study is to describe what atmospheric conditions (from local to global scales) are present prior to and during tornadic storms impacting southeast South America (SESA). Increasing potential for deep convection, wind shear, and potential for rotating updrafts, as well as reducing convective inhibition and cloud-base height, are predominant a few hours before and during the events in connection to low-level northerly winds enhancing moisture transport to the region. Remote convective activity near northern Australia appears to influence large-scale atmospheric circulation that subsequently triggers convective storms supporting tornadogenesis 1–2 weeks later in SESA. Our findings highlight the importance of accounting for atmospheric processes occurring at different scales to understand and predict tornado occurrences.

 
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Award ID(s):
2146709 1661657
NSF-PAR ID:
10484035
Author(s) / Creator(s):
 ;  ;  
Publisher / Repository:
American Meteorological Society
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Monthly Weather Review
Volume:
152
Issue:
1
ISSN:
0027-0644
Format(s):
Medium: X Size: p. 295-318
Size(s):
p. 295-318
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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