Articles | Volume 20, issue 1
Nonlin. Processes Geophys., 20, 47–57, 2013
Nonlin. Processes Geophys., 20, 47–57, 2013
Research article
15 Jan 2013
Research article | 15 Jan 2013

Comprehensive analysis of tornado statistics in comparison to earthquakes: intensity and temporal behaviour

L. Schielicke and P. Névir L. Schielicke and P. Névir
  • Freie Universität Berlin, Institut für Meteorologie, Carl-Heinrich-Becker-Weg 6–10, 12165 Berlin, Germany

Abstract. Tornadoes and earthquakes are characterised by a high variability in their properties concerning intensity, geometric properties and temporal behaviour. Earthquakes are known for power-law behaviour in their intensity (Gutenberg–Richter law) and temporal statistics (e.g. Omori law and interevent waiting times). The observed similarity of high variability of these two phenomena motivated us to compare the statistical behaviour of tornadoes using seismological methods and quest for power-law behaviour. In general, the statistics of tornadoes show power-law behaviour partly coextensive with characteristic scales when the temporal resolution is high (10 to 60 min). These characteristic scales match with the typical diurnal behaviour of tornadoes, which is characterised by a maximum of tornado occurrences in the late afternoon hours. Furthermore, the distributions support the observation that tornadoes cluster in time. Finally, we shortly discuss a possible similar underlying structure composed of heterogeneous, coupled, interactive threshold oscillators that possibly explains the observed behaviour.