Jana Houser. Photo credit: Ohio University
From Dorothy and Toto, to flying cows, to twisters in downtown Los Angeles, Hollywood has capitalized on one of nature’s most violent storms. Tornadoes invoke a wide range of emotional responses from terror and trepidation to awe and fascination. To most people who observe these violently whirling columns of air, either in person or through media outlets, tornados typically appear to begin high in the clouds and work their way to the ground. But do they really?
Many meteorologists have dedicated their lives to determining how these violent vortices work, and what exactly causes them to form in the first place. Recent advances in computer and observational technology have dramatically increased scientific understanding of these atmospheric phenomena over the past three decades. However, our knowledge is not yet complete.
Assistant Professor of Meteorology Jana Houser has spent the past 10 years studying tornadoes through the use of traditional and non-traditional radar observations. For her Science Café, Houser will discuss a wide range of topics associated with tornadoes, including what we know about these storms, what we think we know about them, what we still don’t know, and why we don’t know it! Within the context of this discussion, Houser will also present new observations that justify the need for a paradigm shift away from the traditional tornado formation hypothesis of top-down evolution.
The presentation, “Tornadoes: Unraveling the Mysteries of one of Earth’s most Powerful Storms,” will be held at 5 p.m. on Wed., Feb. 21 in the Baker Center Front Room. It can be viewed online at https://livestream.com/ohiocas/events/7967615.
Science Cafés are part of Ohio University’s Café Series, Wednesdays at the Baker Center Front Room. The series provides a venue for students to informally share their interests during a conversational exchange with faculty presenters, staff and the Athens community. Free coffee is offered to the first 50 attendees, and participants who ask questions can win a free t-shirt.
The series is supported by the Ohio University Research Division and Sigma Xi.
Learn more! Watch the 1-minute Café Series video: