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See post #33 for proposed methods of testing this hypothesis.
Last edited by CharlesChandler; 2012-Apr-11 at 04:33 PM. Reason: added description of link

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Drones might be easier. I would like for something with a deep keel to keep anything above the water and facing the circulation upright if possible. I remember footage of the Nicorette nearing a huge waterspout http://www-das.uwyo.edu/~geerts/cwx/...aterspout.html

3. Originally Posted by CharlesChandler
See post #33 for proposed methods of testing this hypothesis.
Soirry I missed this earlier. What voltage and current do you predict necessary for the ground plate supply?

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Originally Posted by profloater
What voltage and current do you predict necessary for the ground plate supply?
It sounds like you're asking about the proposed laboratory demonstration, as described in Tornado Vortex Exp.pdf. The sheet metal on the base of the apparatus won't have any applied voltage, as it's just supposed to act like the Earth (i.e., the face of a solid conductor, capable of an induced charge if exposed to charged air above it). So it will just be grounded, though in operation it should have an induced negative charge.

For the air at the bottom, I'm looking to develop a 1 PPM positive space charge, and at the top, there will be an equal-but-opposite negative corona. It will take at least 5 kV to ionize the air. Some people are telling me that I should design for 20 kV, distributed over enough needle points to get a well-mixed ionization. The total amount of current will be just a couple of milliamps. The target voltage between the positively charged air and the sheet metal base is 5 kV/m. The voltage between the positive air at the bottom and the negative air at the top will be > 10 kV/m.

I would have built this thing already, but I don't have any practical experience with high-voltage electronics, and this is not something that you want to do by trial-and-error. So I need to find somebody knowledgeable enough to spec all of the components such they can be fabricated, and who will make sure that I understand the operational risks. What you see in the prints is just the result of all of the recommendations that I've gotten from people. But I need more than that to proceed.

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You might want to contact Sean Casey or the Discovery Channel--maybe even NOVA. There might be a way to pry funding from some researchers if other instruments can be added. A nice heavy plate--if nothing else--would be helpful as a base for other instruments.

6. 20Kv is not that difficult at a few milliamps. You could easily construct a diode ladder using , say computer caps at 10000microF 200v working or indeed much smaller caps would be cheaper, so long as they will accept say 10mA AC.

Then drive the ladder at 100v alternating from the mains supply. ordinary 1 amp 1000v diodes will suffice. because each stage of the ladder only sees its local voltage step of 100v, so you need about 200 steps with a simple ladder. You need to physically separate the stages so that no discharge happens where you do not want it. Normal precautions should apply, I would build it inside an insulating tube to avoid shocks and just in case a bad cap. decides to explode. If it is a vertical stack the construction would have a vertical line of diodes and two columns of capacitors, with some horizontal spread; you might restrict that the 2 metres tall because 20kV is not really scary, in fact with current limiting resistors in place a couple of miiliamps will just jolt. Safety RCDs allow 30mA! Not nearly as dangerous as a microwave oven internals, which might be another but more scary way to go. (Please do not open up a microwave the internal caps hold enough charge to kill you) Then run the voltage at the top of the ladder in HT cable to your rig. Many other approaches also possible but that is a simple DIY power supply.

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Originally Posted by publiusr
You might want to contact Sean Casey or the Discovery Channel--maybe even NOVA. There might be a way to pry funding from some researchers if other instruments can be added.
I have corresponded with folks at NSSL, and some of the better-known chasers. Nobody wants to associate with anybody doing electric tornado theory. The reason is that it has a dubious past. Ancient lore, that persisted well into the 20th century, maintained that tornadoes were just a different form of lightning. That led in all kinds of different theoretical directions, but all of them hit dead-ends. Eventually, meteorologists threw up their hands and walked away from EM theory. Now tornadoes are purely statistical entities, and anybody doing electric tornado theory is either too stupid to know that it's never going to work, or too crazy to care. If scientists spent a billion dollars studying tornadoes, without successfully working out the physics, then it's not a solvable problem, and perhaps never will be. At the very least, it would cost more than it would be worth to figure it out. To me, that's argumentum ad antiquitatem, but to them, it's just good common sense.

In 2009, electric tornado theory took another hit when its most flamboyant advocate, Richard Heene, decided to make a media event out of test-driving his homemade tornado probe. The balloon was designed to look like a UFO, which is another one of Heene's interests. He didn't think that there was any harm in telling authorities that his 6-year old son was on board the balloon, foolishly thinking that nobody would ever figure out that the whole thing was a staged hoax. This cemented the opinion that only crazy people believe that tornadoes are electric. So there is little hope for this paradigm within the mainstream. (And that's why this work is being done by an amateur, and not professionals.)

Originally Posted by profloater
You could easily construct a diode ladder...
I've heard a variety of suggestions, but as I said, I don't have any practical experience with high-voltage electronics, and I need more than just suggestions. I have a friend who is a certified electronics tech. If you can draw up the specs, he can do all of the soldering. I'm not asking for an engineer's stamp, and I'll assume all of the liability, in writing. But without any formal training in this stuff, I'm not going to take a few suggestions and a little bit of common sense and start soldering stuff together to see what happens. I might be crazy, but I'm not stupid. So I need somebody to think it through the whole way, and draw up the plans. I'll pay you a reasonable fee for design services if you want, though like I said, I'll assume all of the liability.

So far, I have already commissioned two different EEs to help me, and who I paid by the hour. They were capable enough, and were willing to do the job, but when they asked me what it was for and I explained it, in both cases they insisted that it wasn't going to work. They thought that I was trying to build an electrostatic propulsion device. I never convinced either one of them that the design actually specifies the opposite -- electrostatics inhibits the updraft until the space charge is neutralized. But interestingly, both of them had previously considered electric tornado theory, and both of them had concluded (correctly) that electrostatic propulsion wasn't up to the task. Then I come along using "tornado" and "electrostatics" in the same sentence, and they both barfed up their explanations for why it wouldn't work. So I dropped about \$500 on two attempts to get professional engineers to spec a dual-pole corona ionization device, and still no prints. Nevertheless, I'm convinced that the theory is solid, and if a scale model can reproduce some or all of the distinctive tornadic forms, it will be a scientific first in this field. So if you want a piece of this, just take it.

8. Originally Posted by CharlesChandler
I I don't have any practical experience with high-voltage electronics, and I need more than just suggestions. I have a friend who is a certified electronics tech. If you can draw up the specs, he can do all of the soldering. I'm not asking for an engineer's stamp, and I'll assume all of the liability, in writing. But without any formal training in this stuff, I'm not going to take a few suggestions and a little bit of common sense and start soldering stuff together to see what happens. I might be crazy, but I'm not stupid. So I need somebody to think it through the whole way, and draw up the plans. I'll pay you a reasonable fee for design services if you want, though like I said, I'll assume all of the liability.

.
I think I could draw up something, interested in the results. Will communicate directly, we need to set the targets such as 20KV 2 mA that"s all I need.

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Two questions/observations.

1) You assert that dry air adds to the strength of the charge driving a tornado. It would seem that when a tornado passed over a a lake or river the increased moisture should reduce the effectiveness of your model. Is this correct?

2) If electric forces are comparable to the viscous forces, would this not show up in the lean of the tornadoes? For a purely viscous force, the point of contact tornado should trail the motion of the storm. For your electrical model the magnetic field of the tornado should align with that if the earth. Are there any data sets that could be used to examine such a correlation and determine the relative strength of these two effects?

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Originally Posted by utesfan100
1) You assert that dry air adds to the strength of the charge driving a tornado. It would seem that when a tornado passed over a a lake or river the increased moisture should reduce the effectiveness of your model. Is this correct?
The important thing is not that it is dry, but rather, that it is charged. Because of the charge, an opposite charge is induced in the Earth, and then there is an attractive force between the air and the ground. Electric field meters show a positive charge aloft during the tornadic phase of a thunderstorm, and especially when the inflow jet is passing over the meter, so the charge is positive. The amount of positive charge that the air can hold is irrespective of water content. (Not all molecules are good at hosting a net negative charge, but all matter can become positively charged.)

Then the question is: why doesn't the positively charged air get neutralized as it travels along the surface of an excellent conductor such as a body of water? The answer is that it would take more than 100 kV/m to get a glow discharge, and we only have 5 kV/m, so there won't be much "current" up out of the water and into the positively charged air. Only the air molecules that actually come into contact with the water will get neutralized.

The net result is that tornadoes "seem" to pick up strength as they cross bodies of water. I say "seem" because there aren't any data on this, so it's just field lore. But my opinion is that the electric force pulling the air downward is stronger over a better conductor, and the effect is accentuated. This would explain why it is so common for Florida waterspouts to disband when they come ashore. There is no atmospheric reason for this, since the air doesn't care much whether it's over water or land. And the surface roughness isn't much of a factor. But going from the high conductivity of the sea to the low conductivity of sandy soil will have a big impact on the electric forces at play.

Originally Posted by utesfan100
2) If electric forces are comparable to the viscous forces, would this not show up in the lean of the tornadoes? For a purely viscous force, the point of contact tornado should trail the motion of the storm. For your electrical model the magnetic field of the tornado should align with that if the earth. Are there any data sets that could be used to examine such a correlation and determine the relative strength of these two effects?
Tornadoes frequently lean, but curiously, they don't always trail the parent storm -- sometimes the vortex scouts out ahead of the updraft. So the vortex touches down wherever the air at the ground has the strongest charge. This is just a function of how the charged downdrafts spread out along the ground. So there's no drag force per se.

The Lorentz forces due to the moving electric charges are relatively weak, though they "might" be responsible for the tendency of tornadoes to rotate in the same direction (CCW in the northern hemisphere, and CW in the southern), even though the Coriolis effect at this scale is even weaker. For positively charged air flowing into the tornado, with the magnetic field lines coming up out of the Earth from the magnetic north, the Lorentz force deflection is to the right, which would induce a CCW spiral into the tornado. In the southern hemisphere, the charges are the same but the external magnetic field is reversed, so the deflection is to the left, inducing a CW spiral. See:

Dehel, T. F., Dickinson, M., Lorge, F., and Startzel, F. Jr., 2007: Electric field and Lorentz force contribution to atmospheric vortex phenomena. Journal of Electrostatics, 65(10~11): 631-638.

11. As for the "coronal discharge" on the lamps in the video posted, I agree with Publiusr that it's water droplets on the camera optics. If you've looked out a window when it's being rained on, you'll see the same phenomenon. As for the apparent change in hue, that might be caused by dust or water droplets in the intervening air absorbing some of the light or certain wavelengths. (A similar phenomenon makes the sun and moon look redder when closer to the horizon as well.) The lights may appear lighter beforehand due to saturation of the photosites on the camera sensor when the light is no being obscured by dust/water. If the camera is always trained on the same point in space, perhaps there could be burn-in. You'd have to get an EE to analyze the camera and lamps in order to determine the actual specs.

As for the shape of a tornado, are you saying it's an inverted cone when you say that the narrowest point is on the surface? If so, why do you assume it's cause and not effect?

Also, it seems disingenuous to describe tornado simulators the way you do. It seems obvious they are simulating effects, not mechanics. Besides, they're called simulators not synthesizers.

I read through this whole thread so maybe my eyes glazed over and I missed it, but did you explain how your EHD idea fits into general storm rotation, funnel clouds and derecho bookend vortices, and anticyclonic tornadoes?

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Originally Posted by Ara Pacis
As for the "coronal discharge" on the lamps in the video posted, I agree with Publiusr that it's water droplets on the camera optics.
I'll give you that it's a bad example. But the explanation that the authorities gave was that the lamps caught on fire, which I don't buy, and I doubt that water droplets shifted the color to orange. Here's another example.

Orange and blue flashes around a tornado that did EF4 damage in Millbury, OH, 2010-06-05, courtesy DRACONi Security Agency.

This is also arguably a bad example, but these are the data that are available. Publiusr mentioned corona discharges and I'm providing links to videography. I'm not resting my hypothesis just on these. If these are corona discharges, they indicate electric fields > 100 kV/m. My calculations are all based on 5 kV/m.

Originally Posted by Ara Pacis
As for the shape of a tornado, are you saying it's an inverted cone when you say that the narrowest point is on the surface? If so, why do you assume it's cause and not effect?
It's an effect. The cause is the extreme low pressure, which supplies the necessary centripetal force. The extreme low pressure at the base of the vortex is the effect of skin friction at the ground, and the sudden release of thermal potential inside the vortex.

Originally Posted by Ara Pacis
Also, it seems disingenuous to describe tornado simulators the way you do. It seems obvious they are simulating effects, not mechanics.
I don't understand this. A physical apparatus demonstrates the effects of the forces present. If it cannot reproduce one or more of the distinctive characteristics of what it is trying to demonstrate, one or more forces are absent. I want to know what those other forces are.

If you're going to say that these are just dummy simulations, not intended to represent the actual forces responsible for the in situ phenomena, where can I find a simulation that actually looks like a tornado, with the distinctive funnel shape? I've been studying tornadoes for 10 years now, and I've never seen one accurately simulated (i.e., with the narrowest radius against the boundary). \$15 million per year on average are spent on tornado research in the U.S., and all we get is dummy simulations? How much would an accurate simulation of a vacuum vortex cost? \$30 million?

Originally Posted by Ara Pacis
I read through this whole thread so maybe my eyes glazed over and I missed it, but did you explain how your EHD idea fits into general storm rotation, funnel clouds and derecho bookend vortices, and anticyclonic tornadoes?
I do have a model for "general storm rotation" (i.e., mesocyclonic rotation), but that's a separate issue. Meteorologists consider tornadoes to be simple extensions of rotation within the cloud. So if you can explain why the cloud is rotating, you can explain tornadoes. But 20% of all vortexes reported as tornadoes were associated with clouds that were not rotating, and the 2 most robust mesocyclones on record did not spawn tornadoes. Furthermore, in cases where both a mesocyclone and a tornado were present, sometimes the axis of the tornado lined up with the mesocyclone, and sometimes it was over 1 km away. So the data are telling us that mesocyclones and tornadoes are not directly related, and the standard probabilistic model is physically naive. So I treat mesocyclones separately.

Funnel clouds are squarely within the field of focus of what I have already presented, but gustnadoes (derecho-related or otherwise) are not. I consider gustnadoes to be just boundary vortexes that are well-described by standard dynamic principles.

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Oh, and I forgot to answer the question about anticyclonic tornadoes. There isn't much in my model that prescribes the direction of rotation -- it would work either way. I mentioned in post #70 that there is a slight Lorentz force acceleration to the right in the northern hemisphere, assuming that the tornadic inflow is positively charged, and which would induce a CCW spiral toward the tornado. This "might" encourage the cyclonic preference, and this is stronger than the Coriolis effect, which at this time & distance scale is negligible. But I say "might" because both the Coriolis effect and the Lorentz force don't add up to enough to account for better than 95% of all tornadoes rotating cyclonically. In my opinion, the direction of rotation is induced by the interplay of updrafts, downdrafts, and wind shear (i.e., the same factors that induce rotation within the cloud, if it's rotating). Nevertheless, if a gust induces anticyclonic rotation and a tornado forms right then, it will continue on that way, even if there is cyclonic rotation inside the cloud. But in no sense does my model require that the tornado rotate one way or the other.

14. Originally Posted by CharlesChandler
I'll give you that it's a bad example. But the explanation that the authorities gave was that the lamps caught on fire, which I don't buy, and I doubt that water droplets shifted the color to orange.
When you examined the lamps in question afterwards, did they appear to be scorched or not? And if it wasn't fire but another phenomenon, how do you discount the optical effects of refraction and filtration of light, which seem to be fairly well established. And why do you assume the color of the lamps wasn't orange to begin with?

Here's another example.

Orange and blue flashes around a tornado that did EF4 damage in Millbury, OH, 2010-06-05, courtesy DRACONi Security Agency.

This is also arguably a bad example, but these are the data that are available. Publiusr mentioned corona discharges and I'm providing links to videography. I'm not resting my hypothesis just on these. If these are corona discharges, they indicate electric fields > 100 kV/m. My calculations are all based on 5 kV/m.
The newer video shows flashes of two different colors, and the previous video seemed more like a glow than a flash. Are you claiming that the same phenomenon produces all these myriad different effects? It look like an electrical transformer blowing up.

It's an effect. The cause is the extreme low pressure, which supplies the necessary centripetal force. The extreme low pressure at the base of the vortex is the effect of skin friction at the ground, and the sudden release of thermal potential inside the vortex.
But are you claiming it's an inverted cone shape? If the air moves upwards inside this area, then how are some items lifted outside of that area?

I don't understand this. A physical apparatus demonstrates the effects of the forces present. If it cannot reproduce one or more of the distinctive characteristics of what it is trying to demonstrate, one or more forces are absent. I want to know what those other forces are.
Some things don't scale well. Were they investigating tornado mechanics or something else? Many experiments in science are run to examine specific or limited variables, and sometimes that means that recreating a phenomenon in toto is not required.

If you're going to say that these are just dummy simulations, not intended to represent the actual forces responsible for the in situ phenomena, where can I find a simulation that actually looks like a tornado, with the distinctive funnel shape? I've been studying tornadoes for 10 years now, and I've never seen one accurately simulated (i.e., with the narrowest radius against the boundary).
Again, why do you think that only the narrowest radius is against the boundary. Some images, such as at this page, show the narrowest radius to be above the boundary.

\$15 million per year on average are spent on tornado research in the U.S., and all we get is dummy simulations? How much would an accurate simulation of a vacuum vortex cost? \$30 million?
Do you expect that all the funding for tornado research would go into physical model machines? And why would you expect them to construct an "accurate simulation" that produces what you think it should produce. One possibility, as I mentioned above, is that they may be investigating other aspects. Tell us what other potential physical limitations might make it difficult to scale down a phenomenon that occurs in a complex comprised of thousands of cubic kilometers of gas and fluids to a box that fits inside a room and why previous researchers may have chosen not to do it?

I do have a model for "general storm rotation" (i.e., mesocyclonic rotation), but that's a separate issue. Meteorologists consider tornadoes to be simple extensions of rotation within the cloud. So if you can explain why the cloud is rotating, you can explain tornadoes. But 20% of all vortexes reported as tornadoes were associated with clouds that were not rotating, and the 2 most robust mesocyclones on record did not spawn tornadoes. Furthermore, in cases where both a mesocyclone and a tornado were present, sometimes the axis of the tornado lined up with the mesocyclone, and sometimes it was over 1 km away. So the data are telling us that mesocyclones and tornadoes are not directly related, and the standard probabilistic model is physically naive. So I treat mesocyclones separately.

Funnel clouds are squarely within the field of focus of what I have already presented, but gustnadoes (derecho-related or otherwise) are not. I consider gustnadoes to be just boundary vortexes that are well-described by standard dynamic principles.
Some of this seems like circular reasoning (no pun intended). It looks like you're saying that if fluid dynamics can explain it (or is it that EHD cannot?) then it's not a "tornado" by your definition. However, when you write "But 20% of all vortexes reported as tornadoes were associated with clouds that were not rotating", it looks like you're including non-tornadoes in the set to explain why the current explanation of tornadoes appears to be problematic. How many of the "20% of all vortexes reported as tornadoes that were associated with clouds that were not rotating" are considered to be tornadoes by classic definition instead of something else?

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Originally Posted by Ara Pacis
But are you claiming it's an inverted cone shape?
I'm claiming that funnel clouds are funnel shaped.

Originally Posted by Ara Pacis
If the air moves upwards inside this area, then how are some items lifted outside of that area?
Interesting question, but before I answer, I'd like to hear your opinion. For example, an NWS meteorologist documented a case in which a man was carried 400 meters by the winds outside of a tornado (where the winds travel horizontally). The man suffered no injuries when hitting the ground. Is there an aerodynamic explanation for that? If so, please let us know.

Originally Posted by Ara Pacis
Some things don't scale well. Were they investigating tornado mechanics or something else? Many experiments in science are run to examine specific or limited variables, and sometimes that means that recreating a phenomenon in toto is not required.
They're trying to figure out why tornadoes are so destructive. Does that count as "mechanics"?

Originally Posted by Ara Pacis
Which image on that page shows the narrowest radius to be above the boundary?

Originally Posted by Ara Pacis
Do you expect that all the funding for tornado research would go into physical model machines?
Currently, almost none of it is. The overwhelming majority of funding goes into data collection and probabilistic modeling thereof.

Originally Posted by Ara Pacis
And why would you expect them to construct an "accurate simulation" that produces what you think it should produce.
So that they can identify the forces responsible for the destructive power of tornadoes?

Originally Posted by Ara Pacis
One possibility, as I mentioned above, is that they may be investigating other aspects.
What other aspects?

Originally Posted by Ara Pacis
Tell us what other potential physical limitations might make it difficult to scale down a phenomenon that occurs in a complex comprised of thousands of cubic kilometers of gas and fluids to a box that fits inside a room and why previous researchers may have chosen not to do it?
No, they have chosen to try, but they didn't succeed, and they can't explain why. We're talking about vacuum vortexes here, right? These occur at all scales. The Reynolds numbers vary dramatically, as do the skin friction coefficients. But they "should" be able to reproduce the same form of vortex in a scale model. They should also be able to simulate tornadic vortexes with off-the-shelf CFD software (such as Fluent), but this has never been accomplished either.

Originally Posted by Ara Pacis
Some of this seems like circular reasoning (no pun intended). It looks like you're saying that if fluid dynamics can explain it (or is it that EHD cannot?) then it's not a "tornado" by your definition.

Originally Posted by Ara Pacis
How many of the "20% of all vortexes reported as tornadoes that were associated with clouds that were not rotating" are considered to be tornadoes by classic definition instead of something else?
All of them. (The "classic definition" of a tornado is that it is "a violently rotating column of air, in contact with the surface, pendant from a cumuliform cloud, and often (but not always) visible as a funnel cloud.")

16. You didn't respond to the light issues. Are you ceding the likelihood that your observations are either flawed or inconclusive?

Originally Posted by CharlesChandler
I'm claiming that funnel clouds are funnel shaped.
Is that the same thing? Anyways, a lot of them look like they are cylindrical in shape. What do you make of that?

Interesting question, but before I answer, I'd like to hear your opinion. For example, an NWS meteorologist documented a case in which a man was carried 400 meters by the winds outside of a tornado (where the winds travel horizontally). The man suffered no injuries when hitting the ground. Is there an aerodynamic explanation for that? If so, please let us know.
You post a hypothesis, you answer questions. What I may or may not think has no bearing on your observations, experimental evidence or conclusions. Did the meteorologist to which you refer offer explanations using aerodynamic principles and/or data that suggested aerodynamic principles? When you researched aerodynamic explanations, did you find flaws in in that explanation. Also, what observations or experimental evidence can you present to show that winds traveled horizontally in both the case you mention and generally?

They're trying to figure out why tornadoes are so destructive. Does that count as "mechanics"?
Can you present evidence as to their motivations and activities? Can you present evidence that destructiveness of a tornado requires synthesizing the entire tornado instead of merely replicating its effects?

Which image on that page shows the narrowest radius to be above the boundary?
The ones where the radius on the ground appears larger than radii above it. Row 1: 1, 3 ,4. Row 4: 1, 2, 3. Row 5: all. Row 9: all. Row 11: 1. Row 14: all. Row 15: 1. Row 17: 1, 3. Row 18: 1. Row 22: all. Row 25: 1. Row 26: 2, 3. Row 27: 2, 3. Row 29:2, 3.

Currently, almost none of it is. The overwhelming majority of funding goes into data collection and probabilistic modeling thereof.
Argument cession acknowledged, moving on.

So that they can identify the forces responsible for the destructive power of tornadoes?
This argument is going in circles and may become circular. I know where you're going with this. However, it is incumbent upon you to explore the other possible explanations for why they haven't successfully synthesized a tornado, if that is the case. The problem of hubris in thinking one's explanation is correct without experimental verification works in both directions.

What other aspects?
In case you can't think of one on your own (which you really should have done already since your hypothesis will need to examine the same effects) one aspect might be damage effects.

No, they have chosen to try, but they didn't succeed, and they can't explain why.
You have evidence of this?

We're talking about vacuum vortexes here, right? These occur at all scales. The Reynolds numbers vary dramatically, as do the skin friction coefficients. But they "should" be able to reproduce the same form of vortex in a scale model. They should also be able to simulate tornadic vortexes with off-the-shelf CFD software (such as Fluent), but this has never been accomplished either.
They should be able to reproduce temperature and humidity gradients sufficient to create supercells or other types of thunderstorms at a small scale, including jet stream and Coriolis effects, among others at a small scale, while producing small scale rain, small scale hail and small scale lightning too? Please present evidence to support this claim.

Were gustnadoes included or excluded in the statement "20% of all vortexes reported as tornadoes that were associated with clouds that were not rotating", and provide evidence to that effect.

All of them. (The "classic definition" of a tornado is that it is "a violently rotating column of air, in contact with the surface, pendant from a cumuliform cloud, and often (but not always) visible as a funnel cloud.")
If that's the entirety of the definition, then why and how are gustnadoes excluded?

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Originally Posted by Ara Pacis
You didn't respond to the light issues. Are you ceding the likelihood that your observations are either flawed or inconclusive?

Originally Posted by CharlesChandler
This is also arguably a bad example, but these are the data that are available. Publiusr mentioned corona discharges and I'm providing links to videography. I'm not resting my hypothesis just on these. If these are corona discharges, they indicate electric fields > 100 kV/m. My calculations are all based on 5 kV/m.
To be clear, I'm ceding that the data are inconclusive. ("Bad example" = "inconclusive".)

But in no respect does my hypothesis require these data or conclusions based on them.

Originally Posted by Ara Pacis
A lot of them look like they are cylindrical in shape. What do you make of that?
The difference between a near-stovepipe shape versus a wide-angle wedge is a matter of degree, but not a difference in kind. If tornadoes are vacuum vortexes, and if the source of the energy is a low pressure within the cloud, and if energy can neither be created nor destroyed, and if entropy always increases with distance from the source of the energy, the narrowest radius must always be at the source of the low pressure, as this is where the pressure will be the lowest, and therefore, this is where the centripetal force will be the greatest. In an open-air vacuum vortex, for the pressure to decrease with distance from the source of the low pressure (even by just a little bit) violates the 1st and/or 2nd laws of thermodynamics.

Originally Posted by Ara Pacis
Did the meteorologist to which you refer offer explanations using aerodynamic principles and/or data that suggested aerodynamic principles? When you researched aerodynamic explanations, did you find flaws in in that explanation.
The aerodynamics (or rather, the lack thereof) of the human body are well-known, as sky-divers have tested every possible configuration. In tuck position, the terminal velocity for an average human body is about 100 m/s. In spread-eagle position, it's about 75 m/s. Considering air speeds greater than the terminal velocity is not necessary, as the drag force increases exponentially after boundary layer separation, and the body behaves in a purely ballistic fashion. So the question is: can a human body develop a net aerodynamic uplift (i.e., lift in excess of gravity) at or below 100 m/s? And the answer is definitely not. A sky-diver in tuck position, optimizing his/her aerodynamic form, can achieve about a 15 degree deflection from a straight free-fall. At that angle, the force of gravity is nowhere near its full potential, but that's about as far as you can go. Straight and level flight of a human body, for the length of 4 football fields, is simply not possible by simple aerodynamics.

There are only two ways that a non-aerodynamic shape (such as a human body) can be picked up by air.

First is by terminal velocity winds traveling vertically. For this to be relevant, somebody would have to explain how > 75 m/s winds were coming up out of the solid Earth.

Second, non-aerodynamic shapes can be picked up by a process known as saltation. There are plenty of videos on YouTube of cars being picked up when exposed to the exhaust of jet engines. Contrary to popular belief, this is not because of a low pressure above the car, but rather, a high pressure below the car, as air broadsides the car and gets forced underneath it. Once the car gets up off the ground, the high pressure is relieved, and the "uplift" is gone, so the car starts to fall back down. The closer the car gets to the ground, the greater the cushioning effect. But as the car is accelerated in the direction of the winds by the drag force, the high pressure under the car diminishes, and the car hits the ground. Friction between the car and the ground slows it down, which re-establishes the difference between the speed of the car and the speed of the air, which re-enables a high pressure under the car, and on bouncing, the car is lifted up again. Due to the cushioning effect, the trajectory of the car is non-ballistic. It's more like the car skips along, bumping the ground every once in a while, but not bouncing the way we would expect otherwise. For typical cars, the air speed necessary for saltation is about 60 m/s, assuming that the winds broadside the car, which creates the most dramatic effect. Once lofted, the car travels roughly 10 meters before hitting the ground. To travel 400 meters, the car would hit the ground 40 times. Oh and by the way, the car gets totally destroyed in the process.

The same thing could happen to a human body. There aren't any data, because no one has ever volunteered to be subjected to an effect that would surely injure (if not kill) the person. Since the density of the human body is greater than that of a car, and since human bodies don't have nice flat surfaces to force air into a high-pressure pocket underneath them, we can expect the saltation distance to be less than that of a car. Hence traveling 400 meters would involve more than 40 bounces.

I'm sure that you're going to say that I must be absolutely wrong if I don't cite confirmed experimental evidence of the precise saltation distance of a human body. (What IS the name of that fallacy?) But I'm not going to bother looking this one up just to win the argument, as I'm satisfied that there is just no way that 400 meters could have been traversed, fully airborne, at or below terminal velocity wind speeds. Remember also that the person suffered no injuries when hitting the ground. We know, thanks also to sky-divers, that the maximum speed at which somebody can hit the ground without breaking anything is about 20 m/s, and that's in a controlled and well-practiced fall. So we can safely say that the person hit the ground at less than 20 m/s. Then the question is, "How could someone be airborne for the length of 4 football fields, picked up simply by the force of the wind, and hit the ground at less than 20 m/s, and suffer no injuries in the process?" Frankly, I consider the question to be absurd.

The only other force present is electromagnetism. I'm of the opinion that bodies that have been lofted outside of tornadoes were subjected to triboelectric charging when they were sandblasted by particulate matter as the tornado passed by. Once charged, they were then attracted to the opposite charge aloft. The instrumented data show a positive charge aloft, and as the Earth develops an induced negative charge, particulate matter being blown in the wind will have the charge of the Earth (i.e., negative). So objects being impacted by this particulate matter will then become negatively charged. As the electric force is 39 orders of magnitude greater than gravity, it wouldn't take much of an net charge to overpower gravity. But to anticipate the question, no, there are no data on the electric charges of objects being lofted outside of tornadoes. So I have to be wrong, and there just has to be an aerodynamic explanation. Good luck with that one.

Originally Posted by Ara Pacis
Also, what observations or experimental evidence can you present to show that winds traveled horizontally in both the case you mention and generally?
The videographic evidence, when available, is the most telling. When particulate matter is lofted into the flow field, it travels horizontally along the ground until it gets to the tornado. Then there is a sharp upwards turn.

Originally Posted by Ara Pacis
Can you present evidence as to their motivations and activities?
See Gallus, W. A. Jr., Sarkar, P. P., Haan, F. L. Jr., Le, K., Kardell, R., and Wurman, J., 2004: A translating tornado simulator for engineering tests: comparison of radar, numerical model, and simulator winds. 22nd Conference on Severe Local Storms, American Meteorological Society

Originally Posted by Ara Pacis
Can you present evidence that destructiveness of a tornado requires synthesizing the entire tornado instead of merely replicating its effects?
The problem is in replicating the effects using realistic forces. They have to impose artificial restrictions on the flow field to get extreme velocities at the base of the vortex. So sure, they can blow down scale models of houses with an artificial apparatus. But the question is not whether or not high wind speeds can blow down houses. We already know that. The question is: what are the in situ forces that give rise to such powerful winds?

Originally Posted by Ara Pacis
The ones where the radius on the ground appears larger than radii above it. Row 1: 1, 3 ,4. Row 4: 1, 2, 3. Row 5: all. Row 9: all. Row 11: 1. Row 14: all. Row 15: 1. Row 17: 1, 3. Row 18: 1. Row 22: all. Row 25: 1. Row 26: 2, 3. Row 27: 2, 3. Row 29:2, 3.
You're looking at the debris cloud, which is not part of the inflow. As a matter of fact, the debris cloud is yet another anomaly that cannot be explained by fluid dynamics. There isn't supposed to be a strong outflow where a vacuum vortex is truncated at a boundary, is there?

Originally Posted by Ara Pacis
However, it is incumbent upon you to explore the other possible explanations for why they haven't successfully synthesized a tornado, if that is the case.
What makes you think that I haven't? I think that what you're saying is that if I'm disagreeing with the mainstream, I should think again, because the mainstream is probably right, and I'm missing something. So what part of the 1st and 2nd laws of thermodynamics do I not understand?

Originally Posted by Ara Pacis
Were they investigating tornado mechanics or something else? Many experiments in science are run to examine specific or limited variables, and sometimes that means that recreating a phenomenon in toto is not required.
Originally Posted by CharlesChandler
They're trying to figure out why tornadoes are so destructive. Does that count as "mechanics"?
Originally Posted by Ara Pacis
And why would you expect them to construct an "accurate simulation" that produces what you think it should produce.
Originally Posted by CharlesChandler
So that they can identify the forces responsible for the destructive power of tornadoes?
Originally Posted by Ara Pacis
One possibility, as I mentioned above, is that they may be investigating other aspects.
Originally Posted by CharlesChandler
What other aspects?
Originally Posted by Ara Pacis
In case you can't think of one on your own (which you really should have done already since your hypothesis will need to examine the same effects) one aspect might be damage effects.
I'm getting dizzy.

Originally Posted by CharlesChandler
No, they have chosen to try, but they didn't succeed, and they can't explain why.
Originally Posted by Ara Pacis
You have evidence of this?
If you care to see more detail, please go to http://charles-chandler.org/Geophysics/Tornadoes.php. It's 160 pages (not including images), and there are 248 references. I cover all of the research strategies that have been employed, show the results, and the shortcomings.

Originally Posted by Ara Pacis
They should be able to reproduce temperature and humidity gradients sufficient to create supercells or other types of thunderstorms at a small scale, including jet stream and Coriolis effects, among others at a small scale, while producing small scale rain, small scale hail and small scale lightning too? Please present evidence to support this claim.
Actually, supercells definitely cannot be reproduced in a scale model. The reason is that there is a pressure gradient in the atmosphere, from roughly 1000 mb at the ground level, down to 300 mb at the top of the storm. This reduction in pressure with altitude assists updrafts, and without it, thunderstorms would not be possible. But vacuum vortexes can be easily reproduced at any scale, while tornadic vortexes (with the narrowest radius up against the boundary) have never been reproduced in a scale model. I want to know why. What am I missing? And don't just keep telling me that I have to be missing something, because the mainstream is always right. I want to know what causes the extreme low pressure at the base of a tornado, and I can't get a mechanistic description out of anybody. The more I learn about fluid dynamics, the more I come to understand that it shouldn't be possible.

Originally Posted by Ara Pacis
Were gustnadoes included or excluded in the statement "20% of all vortexes reported as tornadoes that were associated with clouds that were not rotating", and provide evidence to that effect.

Originally Posted by Ara Pacis
If that's the entirety of the definition, then why and how are gustnadoes excluded?
They don't connect with the cloud.

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http://www.theweatherprediction.com/habyhints/329/
http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=...0C&FORM=IQFRBA

BTW--in terms of how things scale--as size decreases, charge becomes more important than gravity. I wonder if some of your ideas might have a place in explaining abiogenesis: http://up-ship.com/blog/?p=14455

There was an early shot of the Xenia Ohio tornado showing two sub-vortices that looked to be a double helix. We have seen horizontal vortices in Red Rock and Tuscaloosa and Cullman last year. Well, storms are updrafts--no different than plumes coming from sea-floor smokers.

So I wonder if a lightning strike hit a smoker near where a stream or river discharged into the ocean when more smokers and geologic activity could be had--or perhaps where a whirpool similar to what we saw in the channeled scablands--could DNA have spun up? Chemistry takes you so far forward--biology so far back. I think vortices may have had a role--with charge playing a part?

Nature as organic chemist? You have enough stirring...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kolk That's where you need a turbine.

Misc: Resources

Xenia and the super outbreak...

http://www.ohiohistory.org/etcetera/...bumpage02.html
http://www.alabamawx.com/?p=58850
http://www.alabamawx.com/?p=58814

Dark history
http://www.alabamawx.com/?p=58546 1994 tragedy
http://www.alabamawx.com/?p=59066 Oak Grove 1998
http://www.alabamawx.com/?p=59116 Wichita Falls '79
http://www.alabamawx.com/?p=59147 Palm Sunday Massive twin funnels-not just suction vortices?
http://www.alabamawx.com/?p=59293 McDonalds Chapel

Grand Island--home of the anti-cyclonics
http://www.gitwisters.com/

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Originally Posted by publiusr
At the risk of expanding the semantic debate, the only way to properly answer the question is to clarify the various usages of the term "funnel."

Tornadoes are frequently called "funnel clouds" because, well, they're funnel shaped, with the narrowest end on the ground. Then, in fluid dynamics, there is a thing called a "condensation funnel." In meteorology these terms are more or less synonymous, but there is a fundamental difference in flow fields.

In a tornado, while it may or may not be fully visible in all cases, the rotation rate and tangential velocity achieve their highest rates at the ground level, where the pressure is the lowest, and the centripetal force is the greatest. In cases where water vapor starts condensing right at the ground level, we can see in videography that the condensation defines the extents of the vortex wall, where the centripetal and centrifugal forces have balanced out, and the fluid motion is circular in plan view (helical in 3D). The enigma, which has been the central theme of this thread, is that the radius of this circular motion expands with proximity to the (supposed) source of the low pressure aloft. In cases where dust has been drawn into the vortex, we can see the same patches of dust repeatedly rotate as they rise with the general sense of the flow field. So there's no question that we're seeing the extents of the vortex wall, and that it is expanding in the direction of the flow.

In fluid dynamics, an open-air vacuum vortex contracts in the direction of the flow. So if the general sense of the flow is upward, the narrowest radius will be at the top, and if distinct particulate matter is in the vortex, we can see it rotate repeatedly around the center as it rises. Interestingly, this type of vortex might also have a condensation funnel inside it, and this "funnel" will have its narrowest end at the bottom, even though it occurs inside a vortex that is contracting with proximity to the source of the low pressure. The reason becomes obvious when we look at the pressure gradient at any given section of a normal vacuum vortex. The pressure is the lowest at the center of the vortex, which relaxes with distance from the center, and which fares rapidly back to the ambient pressure just outside the vortex wall. Hence if condensation is going to form, it will form first at the very center of the vortex. Then, if we take sections of the same vortex higher and higher up, we find that the isobars expand in the direction of the flow, for the same reason that the lines of motion contract -- the pressure is decreasing. One of these isobars is the one at which water vapor condenses. Hence as we approach the source of the low pressure, water vapor further and further from the center will condense, creating a "condensation funnel" that expands with proximity to the source of the low pressure.

The fundamental difference between these flow fields is that in a tornado, the lines of motion expand in the direction of the flow, while in a standard open-air vacuum vortex, the lines of motion contract. But the visible form of the condensation might actually be the same. In order to determine the difference between a tornado and a garden-variety vacuum vortex, we need to know the lines of motion, not just the isobars. So in the images that you referenced, there isn't enough information to tell the difference. If the lines of motion are converging, those are "condensation funnels," obeying strict fluid dynamic principles, and there will be little to no air movement at the ground, while if the lines of motion are diverging, those are tornadoes, and the associated rotation at the ground level will be greater than aloft.

OK, Ara Pacis, bring it on!

Originally Posted by publiusr
There was an early shot of the Xenia Ohio tornado showing two sub-vortices that looked to be a double helix.
A rapidly-rotating vortex can sometimes spawn boundary-layer sub-vortexes outside its wall, because of the shear between the vortex and the surrounding stationary air. Ironically, meteorologists frequently call these "suction vortexes" (for reasons I don't fully understand). But boundary-layer vortexes are a different breed. These are low power phenomena, and have nothing to do with the extreme low pressure inside the main vortex that is doing all of the damage. The boundary-layer vortexes are merely an index of how extreme the velocity gradient is, between the tornado wall and the surrounding air, but they don't actually do any damage.

One other clarification: people who see such boundary-layer vortexes frequently say that it was a "multi-vortex" tornado. I guess you could say that this is technically correct, but these are distinctly different from twin tornadoes. For example, you ask, "Palm Sunday Massive twin funnels -- not just suction vortices?" Your use of "suction vortexes" is meteorologically correct, and no, those aren't just boundary-layer vortexes -- those are twin F4 tornadoes. These are the most feared of all, because they do twice the damage, and I only know of a couple of cases, but they were all F4 or above tornadoes. Anyway, in fluid dynamic terms, the tornado is a vacuum vortex. Your link to the event in Dunlap, IN, 1965-04-11, shows what a fluid dynamicist would call twin vacuum vortexes, while the "double helix" in Xenia, OH, 1974-04-03, was two boundary-layer vortexes around one central vacuum vortex.

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I'm still seeing lots of words and argument lacking anything numeric or testable.. But what is more concerning is the repeated comments like "..the only way to properly answer this is.." followed by handwaving, or flawed arguments based on very shaky (or incorrect) claims. It is patently clear there are MANY other ways to properly answer...

For example, above you tell us that:
The aerodynamics (or rather, the lack thereof) of the human body are well-known, as sky-divers have tested every possible configuration
"Every possible configuration"??? Umm, those would be peer-reviewed scientific tests done at ground level pressures/densities, would it? A mixture of directional winds? Gusting winds? Different body weights and shapes? If you honestly believe that skydiving is a direct and perfect simulation of ground level tornado effects, then it is probably no wonder you are having difficulties understanding why tornado simulations are not done in the way you would like...

Then it gets worse:
In tuck position, the terminal velocity for an average human body is about 100 m/s. In spread-eagle position, it's about 75 m/s.
CITES, Charles. CITES. But let's forget the cites and just think a little, or do a little research on related topics. Charles, can you tell me why it is that indoor skydiving is done at wind speeds ranging from ~80 mph upwards? 80mph equals about 36 m/s - less than half your magic number.. And then...
Considering air speeds greater than the terminal velocity is not necessary, as the drag force increases exponentially after boundary layer separation, and the body behaves in a purely ballistic fashion.
I'm sorry, but WHAT??? Apart from that sentence making little relevant sense, are you suggesting to us that wideflung arms or legs, or the angle of the body are irrelevant to the scenario? May I ask, have you never been out in high winds? Ever stuck your arm out a car window at 50+mph and angled your hand slightly and noticed what happened?

can a human body develop a net aerodynamic uplift (i.e., lift in excess of gravity) at or below 100 m/s? And the answer is definitely not.
Absolutely wrong. As I said, those wind tunnels start at ~36 m/s, and often max out at less than 55 m/s - this is easy to verify. Can you now explain this, especially with regard to your words "definitely not"? Do indoor skydiving venues have secret anti-gravity devices? Or is this now an analogy you would like to abandon?

I could go on, but frankly, given the number of similar 'absolute' (but wrong) claims made throughout these posts, I don't have the patience. And frankly, unless you can come up with something more than words, this stuff is going nowhere.

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Originally Posted by chrlzs
"Every possible configuration"??? Umm, those would be peer-reviewed scientific tests done at ground level pressures/densities, would it? A mixture of directional winds? Gusting winds? Different body weights and shapes? If you honestly believe that skydiving is a direct and perfect simulation of ground level tornado effects, then it is probably no wonder you are having difficulties understanding why tornado simulations are not done in the way you would like...
This topic is a digression from the main theme of this thread, but you're right, I didn't properly research it. Frankly, I think that a little bit of sanity checking goes a long ways, and if there's just nowhere to go with a particular line of reasoning, I don't pursue it. You have to actually think about the physics problems being discussed, or you're liable to disagree with true statements, or agree with false ones. You can't just look for any possible way of arguing with what I'm saying, countering with your own fully unsupported hand-waving, and somehow expect it to turn into a productive use of anybody's time.

Look at it from the opposite angle. Suppose that I asserted that human bodies are capable of straight and level flight, on the basis of aerodynamics, and for my proof I suggested that you stick your hand out of the window of a moving car and feel the effects of the wind. Would you be convinced? I think that you'd argue with that.

But yes, skydiving (and indoor simulations of high wind speeds) are directly relevant to the study of the aerodynamic effects (or lack thereof) in the horizontal winds outside of a tornado, as the principles are the same. If a skydiver moving through stationary air cannot develop a net uplift, then a stationary person on the ground subjected to moving air isn't going to develop a net uplift, because it's the same problem. The critical issues in calculating the Bernoulli force are the speed of the wind, the shape of the airfoil, and the surface roughness of the airfoil. Then you just check the Bernoulli force against the force of gravity. So it's the same problem either way.

Originally Posted by chrlzs
But let's forget the cites and just think a little, or do a little research on related topics. Charles, can you tell me why it is that indoor skydiving is done at wind speeds ranging from ~80 mph upwards? 80mph equals about 36 m/s - less than half your magic number..
A little bit of poking around (such as here and here), turned up numbers in the range of 50~75 m/s for the spread-eagle position (I originally said 75 m/s). In tuck position, the numbers I'm seeing are around 80 m/s (I originally said 100 m/s). You mentioned indoor skydiving, so I checked on that. This site says that their maximum windspeed is 53 m/s. That's for the spread-eagle position, and it looks like the people wear suits that increase the surface area of the bodies. Without the suits, the terminal velocity will be higher.

You're welcome to locate refereed literature on the topic, but if you're going to argue that vertically oriented terminal velocity winds carried somebody 400 meters, you have to establish how you can get even 50 m/s winds coming straight up out of the ground. Stop imagining ways of disagreeing with me and look at the actual nature of the physics problem being discussed. An indoor fan producing 50 m/s winds can pick up a person. Great. So someone going on a 400 meter flight across the countryside if a tornado just passed by is perfectly reasonable? Think about it.

Considering air speeds greater than the terminal velocity is not necessary, as the drag force increases exponentially after boundary layer separation, and the body behaves in a purely ballistic fashion.
I'm sorry, but WHAT??? Apart from that sentence making little relevant sense...
Actually, the more significant thing about boundary layer separation above terminal velocity is just that the drag force is enormous, and the speed difference between the body and the air is rapidly diminished. The relevance is that it cannot be sustained for very long. In a 400 meter flight, starting with winds in excess of terminal velocity, the body would be rapidly accelerated to a substantial percentage of the speed of the winds, due to the enormous drag force. How much? I'm not going to bother calculating this, as the entire premise (that aerodynamic forces can carry a human body 400 meters) is absurd, especially since one of the constraints of the problem is that the person suffered no injuries when hitting the ground. Calculating how fast the person would have been traveling if picked up by winds in excess of terminal velocity is not a legitimate use of my time. Sorry.

Originally Posted by chrlzs
Or is this now an analogy you would like to abandon?
No.

Let me make a more specific statement. Straight and level flight of a human body, with a net uplift due to the Bernoulli force, is not possible. A net uplift due to vertically oriented terminal velocity winds, where the uplift is due simply to the drag force, is possible, but it requires 50 m/s winds (without a high-drag suit), and this isn't relevant, since there's no way to get 50 m/s winds coming straight up out of the ground.

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First, I note that twice more you have now said you won't bother calculating stuff that is key to your claims. At the same time you admit you didn't do the research properly.. And you wonder why experts in the field are ignoring your 'model'? (And I haven't even started on your use of 'saltation' as a mechanism, while either dismissing or not even thinking of simple issues like the fact that a human body can indeed be aerodynamic, angle of attack, etc.) May I repeat - a human body can NOT possibly be regarded as a purely ballistic object.

And if that 'sanity checking' is required, why do you keep referring to the winds having to be strictly vertical and magically appearing out of the ground? - most of the surface area of a body is *well* above the ground, and then once the body is lifted, angled winds that are fed from the outer regions at MUCH lower speeds than you keep referring to (ones that are produced by current theories) could easily create the scenario. And why do you keep claiming that it involved 'straight and level' travel? Did it?

As a further simple and very obvious sanity check, how heavy was the person? And how was the story verified? Where are the actual calculations for what forces/wind speeds would *actually* be required to do this?

More importantly, show us your calculations of the forces that your theory provides that gives a better match for the scenario, including the geometries (vertical? straight and level?) that apply, and how those geometries are created and maintained. If you can't do that, you have nothing but a handwave.

This type of cherry picking of data, avoiding anything that involves numbers (or presenting numbers that don't go anywhere) and using flawed, poorly researched data exists throughout the 'model'.

BTW, I just love the way you tossed in that little proviso where you try to make it seem as if this is only about Bernoulli effects... That last paragraph of yours is a classic. THAT sort of hype and misrepresentation of the discussion is why I will not bother further with this mess.

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Originally Posted by chrlzs
A human body can indeed be aerodynamic, angle of attack, etc.
You keep asserting this, but you haven't provided any evidence of it.

Originally Posted by chrlzs
May I repeat - a human body can NOT possibly be regarded as a purely ballistic object.
Repeat it all you want, but if you're claiming that human bodies are capable of straight and level flight, skydivers would be doing the Superman on every dive, wouldn't they?

Originally Posted by chrlzs
And if that 'sanity checking' is required, why do you keep referring to the winds having to be strictly vertical and magically appearing out of the ground? - most of the surface area of a body is *well* above the ground, and then once the body is lifted, angled winds that are fed from the outer regions at MUCH lower speeds than you keep referring to (ones that are produced by current theories) could easily create the scenario.
Most of the surface area of a body is *well* above the ground? It's less than 2 meters. So to get net uplift due to the drag force, we need winds moving vertically at 50 m/s, below 2 meters above the ground. Furthermore, using 50 m/s as a rough number, we should remember that this number assumes that the entire body is subjected to that drag force. So if you were belly-to-ground, 2 meters off the ground, and if 2 meters off the ground the vertical component of the winds was 50 m/s, then you'd have net uplift. But how did you get into that position? If you were standing straight up, and the winds went from 0 to 50 m/s at 2 meters above the ground, the average speed over your whole body would be 25 m/s. That's not going to pick you up. So you'd need far greater wind speeds at the 2 meter mark, to get the average over the whole body to be 50 m/s.

Furthermore, if the winds are "angled", the vertical component still has to be 50 m/s. Gravity doesn't know to get angled so that it is opposite from the winds. So angled winds would have to be faster than 50 m/s, not slower as you contend.

What "current theories" are you talking about, that have vertically angled winds outside of the tornado (at any speed)? Cite a source, please. Outside of the tornado, there is the forward flank downdraft, the rear flank downdraft, and horizontal winds from them into the tornado. There can certainly be turbulence on the gust fronts, but nobody is saying that there are sustained 50 m/s updrafts, 2 meters above the ground, anywhere outside of the tornado.

Originally Posted by chrlzs
And why do you keep claiming that it involved 'straight and level' travel? Did it?
The horizontal component was 400 meters, verified by GPS by the meteorologist. The article didn't say whether there was any incline. The incident occurred near Fordland, Missouri. That's pretty flat country, but no, I don't have the data on the inclination. Here's the article.

Originally Posted by chrlzs
As a further simple and very obvious sanity check, how heavy was the person? And how was the story verified?
The article doesn't say how heavy the person was, but the doctor who examined him noted that if he had hit the ground anywhere in the 400 meters, he would have abrasions to show for it, and he didn't.

Originally Posted by chrlzs
Where are the actual calculations for what forces/wind speeds would *actually* be required to do this?
OK, pay attention now. Straight and level flight for a human body due to the Bernoulli effect has never been demonstrated, for any person, of any weight, at any speed. I'm not saying that the winds were not sufficient in this particular case. I'm saying that only Superman can do the Superman. (That's why they call him Superman.) Net uplift is possible with 50 m/s vertical winds. The problem with that is explaining how you get sustained 50 m/s vertical winds that close to the ground, outside of the tornado. What is the energy source? Why has this never been reported?

Originally Posted by chrlzs
More importantly, show us your calculations of the forces that your theory provides that gives a better match for the scenario, including the geometries (vertical? straight and level?) that apply, and how those geometries are created and maintained. If you can't do that, you have nothing but a handwave.
Ara Pacis asked in post #74 about objects being picked up outside of the tornado. As the central theme of the hypothesis is the tornado itself, this issue is a digression. Nevertheless, I answered the question. I'm not going to concede the point, because I put enough thought into it to conclude that the aerodynamic explanations were naive, but if you're tired of arguing, that will work too.

Originally Posted by chrlzs
This type of cherry picking of data, avoiding anything that involves numbers (or presenting numbers that don't go anywhere) and using flawed, poorly researched data exists throughout the 'model'.
Would you care to comment on the calculations in post #4? Or would you rather that they not be mentioned?

Originally Posted by chrlzs
BTW, I just love the way you tossed in that little proviso where you try to make it seem as if this is only about Bernoulli effects... That last paragraph of yours is a classic. THAT sort of hype and misrepresentation of the discussion is why I will not bother further with this mess.
Au contraire. You will not "bother further with this mess" because in order to continue arguing, you have been forced to assume an absurd position.

What I can't understand about people like you is why you bother arguing. Tornadoes kill people. A better understanding of them can save lives. That's my motivation. But what about you -- what are you trying to save?

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Originally Posted by CharlesChandler
You keep asserting this, but you haven't provided any evidence of it.
Why would I need to? YOU said that by altering body shape you could change the alleged terminal velocity from 75m/s to 100 m/s. Those figures appear to be wrong (in your favour, naturally), and most sources seem to quote a range from about 55m/s to 90 m/s. These are OBVIOUSLY measured at what might be called 'mid-altitudes' for rather obvious reasons, and are therefore likely to be lower again at ground level..

But the fact is, you said that varying body shape was significant. Yet you then promptly dismissed aerodynamic effects, saying that it was all ballistic... (And please NOTE CAREFULLY - I am NOT talking about Bernoulli and wing-shaped surfaces!!! I'm talking about simple angle of attack and drag issues.)

So just in that little bit alone, your numbers were inflated TWICE, you used an invalid analogy, and you completely contradicted yourself.

Aerodynamic factors are important.

but if you're claiming that human bodies are capable of straight and level flight
Nobody but you is making that claim. Repeat the strawman all you like...

Most of the surface area of a body is *well* above the ground? It's less than 2 meters.
But it's YOU who keeps talking about magic winds that come straight out of the ground, completely ignoring the fact that wind gusts and vortices (both horizontal and vertical and everything in between) can cause very strong wind gusts at just above ground level (how else would 'saltation' happen? ). And if you are in a trailer, that floor you are(were) standing upon could also be a factor, don't you think? I guess not..

So to get net uplift due to the drag force, we need winds moving vertically at 50 m/s, below 2 meters above the ground.
While I would argue that it can be less than 50 m/s, depending on weight, surface area, air density etc, YES, just for a moment or two to lift the object/s and ... wait for it.. impart MOMENTUM. After the object has started travelling fast, upwards/sideways, it doesn't take much to propel it further.

400 metres isn't very far, even if it is PROPERLY verified. So let's move on (into my territory - that of examining news reports and find the truth (if any)..)

Furthermore, if the winds are "angled", the vertical component still has to be 50 m/s.
No, it does not. The abovementioned momentum and other factors (like the height to which they were initially 'gusted') will come into play.

What "current theories" are you talking about, that have vertically angled winds outside of the tornado (at any speed)?
OUTSIDE? On what basis do you claim 'outside'? You're the one making the claim, so your cite first. But before doing so, let's take a LONG HARD look at the reference you give for this event... Here's the link again.

Now, when I read Charles comments "horizontal component was 400 meters, verified by GPS by the meteorologist" I was initially impressed - this was a meteorologist, holding/carrying a GPS, that got blown away and he has all the data!? Wow. But NO. The 'man' was a 19-year-old high school senior. The incident was UNWITNESSED - even by the guy himself as he was knocked out. The meteorologist 'verification' was afterwards, and frankly the bit about GPS is just a ridiculous attempt to sound really scientific, as it was just some guy taking the 'victim's words at face value. What's more, according to the account, the twister appears to have gone right over the guy, completely wrecking the trailer he was in - YET Charles keeps repeating that it was OUTSIDE - note that he wants me to cite winds OUTSIDE a tornado..? Of course he does.

Charles, where is the bit in that article that says these winds were OUTSIDE the tornado?

And may I also ask, have you looked at other reports on this event? If so, did you notice an interesting re-wording of the bit about GPS verification.. Elsewhere the story reads "a National Weather Service official used a GPS device to measure how far Suter thinks he traveled." See if you can spot the key word that got edited out for *your* favorite report...

I particularly like the bit where the esteemed Doctor says how he would have been much more abraded if he had been 'scudded' across the field.. That was after it was pointed out that the field was of "soft grass"... His opinion about that seems to be the nearest to verification of the account we will get - but plenty good enough for Charles to add it to the overwhelming evidence he already has..

It's also interesting that the guy's initial account includes the comment that he was propelled over a fence 200 yards away. Yet the final distance was nearer 440 yards (when are you guys gunna go metric, for heaven's sakes?) hmmmmmmmm. And for all we know, he might have simply walked or crawled there in a concussed daze or just made the whole thing up...

The article doesn't say how heavy the person was
There are pictures of him on the net. Looks like a fairly typical 19 yr old, if anything maybe slightly lighter than average.

I've stopped there, because you then started talking about Bernoulli again. NO-ONE is saying that Bernoulli is relevant to any significant degree, but YOU.. May I suggest you spend a little time here, to see if you can break your obsession with him..

As for me, I'm sick of the strawmen.

Au contraire. You will not "bother further with this mess" because in order to continue arguing, you have been forced to assume an absurd position.
I'll let the forum decide whose position is absurd, thanks all the same. Lurkers, please de-lurk and post your opinions!

What I can't understand about people like you is why you bother arguing.
I don't like being misled. I don't like poor research, misrepresented references, handwaving.

what about you -- what are you trying to save?
The Scientific Method...
Last edited by chrlzs; 2012-Apr-23 at 11:30 AM. Reason: spelling/grammar

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Sorry to weigh back in - but Chrlzs is largely right. A lot of points are argument by similarity (often visual). You butchered some basic equations when asked for numbers. You do have a habit of setting up Strawmen. You inflate or carefully word your statements about the mainstream to make it look worse than it is. Sorry, but I'd expect better if this was a scientific piece of work. Like I said before, maybe it is just presentation but this feels more like being sold an idea than reviewing a piece of science. If this were my area of expertise I'd have been more persistent in chasing these points but as it was every argument was turning into me having to educate myself first!

Edit: Oh, and your comment about only wanting to save lives and asking what Chrlzs wanted to do? That was the point you irrevocably lost the argument for me. That was a highly manipulative statement that has no place in a piece of science.

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OK, I'm learning here. In post #74, Ara Pacis asked about objects being picked up outside of the tornado. This is a well-known phenomenon, and I considered it to be a legitimate question. The anomalous trajectories of such objects were actually what originally got me looking outside of fluid dynamics for a more complete theory of tornadoes. There have been many reports. Most of them are not credible enough to warrant further investigation. But there are too many to dismiss. I know somebody whose neighbor's house was destroyed by a tornado. He had a 90 kg drill press that was found 2 blocks away. But the stack of magazines on the floor next to the drill press was untouched. I wouldn't consider that to be credible except for the fact that I know the guy. My brother knows somebody whose garage was removed by a tornado, but the pick-up truck inside the garage didn't have a scratch on it, and the coffee cup that he left on the hood when he ran back into the house was still there. Again, I wouldn't have given it a second thought except for the fact that I have never known my brother to pass on a story unless he considered it to be accurate. I doubt that you're impressed, but I'm not making this stuff up. If you want a report from somebody with a Ph.D. in meteorology who was in a tornado, here's one.

Originally Posted by Steve Tracton
In 1995, I was in my car one night, patiently waiting the opportunity to turn from a driveway onto a street in Temple Hills, MD, when seemingly out of nowhere the wind increased to what I perceived as hurricane strength. Needless to say, I was totally surprised and scared beyond belief when my car rose at least two feet off the ground. Fortunately, the wind decreased as rapidly as it had increased, and my car settled back down on the driveway.
Notice that Dr. Tracton says that when the winds subsided, his car came back down on the driveway. Now watch this video of a car being picked up by high wind speeds. Does the car "settle back down" on the same spot from which it was lifted? Not exactly. It saltated for 50 meters, and would have keep going except it landed in the water next to the runway. So I consider Dr. Tracton's report to be anomalous, and is similar in kind to other reports of things being "levitated" by a tornado. One of the things that I consider to be the most anomalous about these reports is that when it's specified, they always say that the fastest winds had already passed. If something isn't going to get picked up in the fastest winds, how does it get picked up as the winds subside?

There is no doubt in my mind that you can sound fully scientific while poking holes in all of this. When Dr. Tracton said that his car was lifted 2 feet off the ground, did he use a tape measure, or did he just guess at it? What exactly were the wind speeds -- he doesn't mention the make and model of the anemometer. What kind of car was it? What was the direction of the winds relative to the car, and what was the make and model of compass that he used to determine this? How many other scientists were there to confirm that the data were properly collected? Has he reproduced the experiment? If not, this is just handwaving.

OK, so I'll have to concede due to lack of data. I should have told Ara Pacis that there aren't enough confirmed data to support any conclusions whatsoever -- for or against the hypothesis in question. Especially since it was a peripheral issue anyway. (See -- I'm learning!)

But since this is the last day that this thread will remain open, can I make one last request for comments directly on the central theme of this thread (i.e., the assertion that tornadoes are bottleneck vortexes)? I provided definitive proof, and I demonstrated consistency with the available field data. Nobody directly addressed the iteration of fluid dynamic and thermodynamic principles that proves that tornadoes are bottleneck vortexes, and the logic by which I demonstrated that only the electric force could instantiate closed-system properties in an atmospheric vortex. I assume that the lack of comments, in such an argumentative environment, means that no flaws were found. No evidence of a tornado with a wider radius at its base was produced, so the generalization that tornadoes are narrowest at their bases stands, and the mechanistic implications were explored. Sophistry aside, are there any legitimate criticisms of the foundational work that I have done?

Speak now or forever hold your peace!
Last edited by CharlesChandler; 2012-Apr-23 at 05:20 PM. Reason: fixed typo

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Originally Posted by Shaula
Oh, and your comment about only wanting to save lives and asking what Chrlzs wanted to do? That was the point you irrevocably lost the argument for me. That was a highly manipulative statement that has no place in a piece of science.
You're right about that. It's personal for me, but I have to keep that out of it. If people want to gleefully attack 10 years of work, because they can, I have to show that the work is still standing when all of that is done. My apologies to all.

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OK - you have not proven definitively. You have posted some pictures, made a few general statements. In order to prove it you would need to produce a model that made testable, numerical predictions. You have not done that.

I am not going to try to trash your idea - it is better presented and thought out than most ATM ideas. I'd encourage you to do the maths, to get into the modelling side more. Until then - well the most that can be said is interesting idea. As you say in that last but one post - you are at the foundational stage so far. There is a lot of work ahead to formalise and present your ideas in a scientific way. Good luck with it but I have to say, not convinced so far

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Originally Posted by Shaula
In order to prove it you would need to produce a model that made testable, numerical predictions. You have not done that.
I appreciate your helpful tone, so don't take this as a rebuttal -- it's just a point of order. Laboratory demonstrations cannot prove anything. Same goes for consistency with field data. They can "confirm" an hypothesis. They are also an excellent opportunity to disprove something, if it should have worked and it didn't. But if you're talking about real proof, such is by definition, or it's not proof. To prove something, you have to eliminate all other possibilities. If there are still two different possibilities, neither of them is proved. A laboratory demonstration can be very convincing, but it can never establish that the apparent similitude is not an artifact of differences between the model and the real thing. So how do you eliminate all other possibilities? This can only be done by definition. That's why I presented my work framed by the fundamental principles of fluid dynamics, thermodynamics, and electromagnetism. I thought that if I could demonstrate that there was only one possibility, it would be convincing. As it was, I failed to convince anybody that funnel clouds are funnel shaped. Perhaps people realized that if they accepted that much, they'd have to accept the rest of it, so they refused to acknowledge the validity of the photographic and videographic evidence.

But you're right -- the next step is the laboratory demonstration, which I'm working on right now. I seriously doubt that anybody in the scientific community is going to be convinced. If that presentation goes anything like this one, everybody will just say that looks can be deceiving, and just because I can produce vortexes that look like tornadoes in a scale model doesn't mean that the method employed has anything to do with the real thing.

But I can put the apparatus in the back of a van and go on a road trip this summer, visiting all of the cities and towns that have suffered tornado fatalities in the last 10 years. (When you lose a loved one in a tornado, you still remember 10 years later.) So I'll demonstrate the apparatus, showing that I can produce accurate tornadic vortexes. If I can produce vortexes that look like the tornadoes that took their loved ones, it will hit home. By flipping a switch, I'll be able to show that tornadic vortexes are not possible without EM forces. I can explain the significance of collecting more EM field data, for research as well as for forecasting purposes. And I can easily make the point that more accurate tornado warnings, based on a more accurate model, will save lives, as they know that with an extra minute of lead time, their loved ones would still be alive.

As soon as they see that I know what I'm talking about, their first question will always be, "What is the scientific community saying about this, and why is an amateur going door-to-door with his research, instead of this kind of work being done by professional scientists in well-funded labs?" To answer the question, I'll show them printouts of this and other public discussions. Then I'll ask for their signatures on a petition that I can take to Congress. If I can get 10,000 signatures, I can get the attention of the politicians. On average, tornadoes kill 100 people per year. (Not something to get concerned about, unless of course one of them was somebody that you knew.) In 10 years, 1,000 people have died. If I can locate 10 members of the immediate families of all 1,000 of those victims, I can get 10,000 signatures. If that doesn't work, I'll have to broaden the attack on the credibility of the scientific community, but that should work.

We all know that scientists these days are just saying what's paying. That means that their opinions are not the ones that count. Important scientific opinions are all formed in Congress, so the politicians are the ones who need to be convinced, not the "scientists." I'm not saying that this is an optimal situation. But I have been told many times, and have come to be thoroughly convinced, that this is precisely the nature of the situation. So this is how we make scientific progress these days -- we develop popular support for the initiative, and then the politicians hop on the band wagon and approve the funding, and then the scientists all agree that such is a perfectly legitimate research strategy.

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I suppose the Syfy flick "Alien Tornado" with the glowing light show didn't help matters much...

I did like the little funnels acting like tentacles.

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