Tornadoes in the British Isles: Climatology, Formation Environments, and Storm Dynamics

  • Kelsey Mulder

Student thesis: Phd


This thesis was funded by a scholarship from the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, University of Manchester and is presented in an alternative thesis format. The thesis consists of three separate journal articles which form a coherent research project.Paper 1 is a climatology of tornadoes in the British Isles from 1980-2012. The climatology included interannual variability, seasonality, diurnal cycle, intensity, location of occurrence, sounding-derived environmental parameters, and parent storm types of tornadoes. One finding from Paper 1 was that the most common parent storm type in the British Isles was linear storms, for example, storms forming along cold fronts. This finding motivated Papers 2 and 3, which studied vortexgenesis in a tornadic narrow cold-frontal rainband (NCFR), a storm type common to the British Isles, which occurred 29 November 2011. This NCFR caused seven tornadoes across Wales and England. Paper 2 compares the differ- ences in WRF simulation runs of the NCFR based on initialization time, planetary boundary layer scheme, microphysics scheme, and land surface scheme. Out of 96 simulations, the most realistic (most similar to observed radar reflectivity) run was chosen for a case study in Paper 3. Paper 3 analyzes vortices along the NCFR to determine mechanisms dominating their formation and maturation.
Date of Award31 Dec 2015
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorDavid Schultz (Supervisor) & Geraint Vaughan (Supervisor)


  • Climatology
  • Tornado
  • NCFR
  • Misocyclone
  • Tornadogenesis

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