Mercury possesses magnetic "tornadoes," which NASA's Mercury MESSENGER spotted during a flyby in 2008. Tornadoes are twisted magnetic field bundles that connect Mercury's magnetic field to space. They can be as long-lived as the planet itself.
Tornadoes on other planets in our solar system include those on Jupiter, which are driven by its massive atmosphere; those on Mars, which are caused by dust devils; and those on Earth, which occur when air moves around mountain peaks or depressions.
On Mercury, these magnetic storms are thought to be caused by changes in the angle between the planet's magnetic axis and its orbit around the Sun. As Mercury orbits the Sun, it travels from the region of the galaxy where the Sun is located to another region where it is positioned more directly opposite it. Because of this change in orientation, parts of Mercury's magnetic field may become aligned parallel to the orbital plane, causing them to snap like rubber bands and create winds on the planet's surface.
The magnetic storms on Mercury last for several days, but it may take months or years for the wind speeds to decrease enough for the fields to relax back into their original configurations.
This image was taken by NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft as it flew by Mercury on 18 January 2009 at 10:00 AM EST.
A tornado is a meteorological phenomena that consists of a furiously rotating column of air. A tornado frequently makes contact with both the ground and a cumulonimbus cloud. Tornadoes originate within thunderclouds (supercells) that are many meters above the Earth's surface. They can also origin from within liquid clouds (flood-storms). However only about 10% of all tornadoes occur as a result of liquid-liquid development.
On average, tornadoes strike the United States every afternoon. But because storms and earthquakes can happen at any time, tornadoes can appear at any place on the planet. Most tornadoes occur in the Northern Hemisphere but they can also happen in the Southern Hemisphere. Tornado outbreaks can also vary greatly from year to year and location to location - sometimes there are few tornadoes, other times many.
Tornadoes can be classified by how high they reach into the atmosphere: microbursts are less than 3 feet (1 m) high; meso-bursts reach up to 20 feet (6 m); and macro-tornadoes rise more than 200 feet (60 m). The strength of a tornado is usually measured on the Fujita scale, which ranges from F0 to F5. An F5 tornado is equal to approximately 250 miles (400 km) per hour. Stronger tornadoes are rare but have been reported.
A tornado, sometimes known as a twister, is a violently rotating column of air that stretches from the Earth's surface to a cloud, most commonly a cumulonimbus cloud. Wind speeds of greater than 300 miles (483 kilometers) per hour may tear buildings from their foundations in the most severe twisters. Tornadoes can be deadly: According to the National Weather Service, 434 people have died in U.S. tornadoes since 1950.
Tornadoes are formed when warm, moist air rises rapidly and collides with cooler, drier air near the ground. This interaction produces a strong wind that can reach hurricane force. The air in the middle of the storm is rising quickly because it is hot and has low pressure. The surrounding air is moving in to fill the gap left by the departing air, which causes it to rise even more rapidly. This effect creates a bubble around the center of the storm where the air is rising even more rapidly than elsewhere. The direction the air is going relative to the earth's surface determines whether the system will evolve into a tornado or not. If it spins in place like a hurricane, it is called a "tropical cyclone". If it goes in a straight line like an ordinary wind, it is called an "extratropical cyclone".
On average, there are between 20 and 30 deaths due to tornadoes each year in the United States.
Tornadoes are small-diameter columns of violently rotating air that form within a convective cloud and come into contact with the ground. Tornadoes most commonly occur in conjunction with thunderstorms in the mid-latitudes of both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres throughout the spring and summer. However, tornadoes can also form independently of any associated precipitation or storm systems.
Yes, tornadoes are small diameter tubes of swirling wind and rain. Some people call them "twisters", but this is incorrect; a tornado is a type of vortex. A tube is something that contains gas under pressure, like an air hose. A tornado is not going to blow your house down if you are not in town when it happens. If you live in a rural area and a tornado does strike, the only thing that will happen is that some trees may be blown over by the wind and some power lines might be damaged or even destroyed.
Here are the different parts of a tornado:
The Tornado Vortex - This is the core of the tornado where the strongest winds reside. The size of the tornado vortex varies greatly based on many factors such as wind speed, terrain, and proximity to buildings or trees. In general, though, the larger the tornado, the more severe it will be.
Walls of Wind - These are the regions of the tornado where its strength decreases rapidly with distance from the center.
The phrase "spin-up tornadoes" more appropriately characterizes the uncommon tornadic gustnado that connects the surface to the ambient cloud base, or, more typically, the very brief but real tornadoes linked with a mesovortex. Such spin-ups are not considered significant by most meteorologists and thus do not receive much attention from them.
Spin-ups are difficult to detect based on radar or satellite imagery alone because they occur so quickly (often within minutes). However, eyewitness reports of such events can provide valuable information for scientists investigating these rare phenomena.
Spin-ups appear on radar as intense narrowband echoes moving in the direction of the wind. They are usually short-lived (a few hundredths of a mile) but have been known to persist for several miles. The presence of a mesocyclone may be indicated by scattered rainfall around the echo or by spiral bands in satellite images. Spin-ups have been reported throughout North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.
Scientists are still trying to understand how often spin-ups occur, where they are likely to form, and what causes them to dissipate. Some evidence suggests that spin-ups are more common in areas where the soil is moist and free of dust, which would allow storm clouds to build up pressure quickly.
Say it aloud: "Pause." After studying tornadoes and their many consequences on Earth's systems, I discovered that tornadoes in the hydrosphere were waterspouts. They aren't as dangerous as tornadoes on the geosphere, but they may cause a chain reaction of whirlwinds, torrential rain, floods, and hail. These storms can reach great distances and can last for hours or days.
The word "tornado" comes from Latin words meaning "devouring wind." That's exactly what these destructive winds do-they consume everything in their path. The name "waterspout" comes from the fact that these storms often develop over bodies of water such as oceans or lakes. Waterspouts are large circular currents of air that form when warm moist air is pushed away from landmasses by high pressure systems. As this air moves out across open water, it becomes unstable and tends to spiral into itself. The result is a rotating column of air that can extend for hundreds of miles inland from the shoreline.
You have probably seen pictures of waterspouts on television or in the newspaper. However, you should know that these events are extremely rare. Only about one in 100 people reports having experience with a waterspout during their lifetime. This means that you have a 1 in 100 chance of encountering one day in your life!