Document Type



vortex gas, negative temperature, supercritical vortices, inverse energy cascade, tornadogenesis, tornado maintenance



Processes related to the production of vorticity in the forward and rear flank downdrafts and their interaction with the boundary layer are thought to play a role in tornadogenesis. We argue that an inverse energy cascade is a plausible mechanism for tornadogenesis and tornado maintenance and provides supporting evidence which is both numerical and observational. We apply a three-dimensional vortex gas model to supercritical vortices produced at the surface boundary layer possibly due to interactions of vortices brought to the surface by the rear flank downdraft and also to those related to the forward flank downdraft. Two-dimensional and three-dimensional vortex gas models are discussed, and the three-dimensional vortex gas model of Chorin, developed further by Flandoli and Gubinelli, is proposed as a model for intense small-scale subvortices found in tornadoes and in recent numerical studies by Orf et al. In this paper, the smaller scales are represented by intense, supercritical vortices, which transfer energy to the larger-scale tornadic flows (inverse energy cascade). We address the formation of these vortices as a result of the interaction of the flow with the surface and a boundary layer.

Published in

Open Journal of Fluid Dynamics

Citation/Other Information

Bělík, P., Dokken, D. P., Potvin, C. K., Scholz, K. & Shvartsman, M. M. (2017). Applications of vortex gas models to tornadogenesis and maintenance. Open Journal of Fluid Dynamics, 7(4), 596–622.