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On the implementation of the enhanced Fujita scale in the USA

Doswell III, Charles A. and Brooks, Harold E. and Dotzek, Nikolai (2009) On the implementation of the enhanced Fujita scale in the USA. Atmospheric Research, 93 (1-3), pp. 554-563. Elsevier. DOI: 10.1016/j.atmosres.2008.11.003.

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Official URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/01698095

Abstract

The history of tornado intensity rating in the United States of America (USA), pioneered by T. Fujita, is reviewed, showing that non-meteorological changes in the climatology of the tornado intensity ratings are likely, raising questions about the temporal (and spatial) consistency of the ratings. Although the Fujita scale (F-scale) originally was formulated as a peak wind speed scale for tornadoes, it necessarily has been implemented using damage to estimate the wind speed. Complexities of the damage-wind speed relationship are discussed. Recently, the Fujita scale has been replaced in the USA as the official system for rating tornado intensity by the so-called Enhanced Fujita scale (EF-scale). Several features of the new rating system are reviewed and discussed in the context of a proposed set of desirable features of a tornado intensity rating system. It is concluded that adoption of the EF-scale in the USA may have been premature, especially if it is to serve as a model for how to rate tornado intensity outside of the USA. This is in large part because its degree of damage measures used for estimating wind speeds are based on USAspecific construction practices. It is also concluded that the USA's tornado intensity rating system has been compromised by secular changes in how the F-scale has been applied, most recently by the adoption of the EF-scale. Several recommendations are offered as possible ways to help develop an improved rating system that will be applicable worldwide.

Document Type:Article
Title:On the implementation of the enhanced Fujita scale in the USA
Authors:
AuthorsInstitution or Email of Authors
Doswell III, Charles A.OU-CIMMS
Brooks, Harold E.NOAA-NSSL
Dotzek, NikolaiUNSPECIFIED
Date:2009
Journal or Publication Title:Atmospheric Research
Refereed publication:Yes
In Open Access:No
In SCOPUS:Yes
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Volume:93
DOI:10.1016/j.atmosres.2008.11.003
Page Range:pp. 554-563
Publisher:Elsevier
Status:Published
Keywords:Fujita scale, USA, "Enhanced Fujita scale", tornado
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport (old)
HGF - Program:Space (old)
HGF - Program Themes:W EO - Erdbeobachtung
DLR - Research area:Space
DLR - Program:W EO - Erdbeobachtung
DLR - Research theme (Project):W - Vorhaben Atmosphären- und Klimaforschung (old)
Location: Oberpfaffenhofen
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Atmospheric Physics > Atmospheric Dynamics
Deposited By: Dr.rer.nat. Nikolai Dotzek
Deposited On:27 Aug 2009 11:41
Last Modified:12 Dec 2013 20:41

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