Multi-Scale Remote Sensing of Tornado Effects
Frontiers in Built Environment
To achieve risk-based engineered structural designs that provide safety for life and property from tornadoes, sufficient knowledge of tornado wind speeds and wind flow characteristics is needed. Currently, sufficient understanding of the magnitude, frequency, and velocity structure of tornado winds remain elusive. Direct measurements of tornado winds are rare and nearly impossible to acquire, and the pursuit of in situ wind measurements can be precarious, dangerous, and even necessitating the
... necessitating the development of safer and more reliable means to understand tornado actions. Remote-sensing technologies including satellite, aerial, lidar, and photogrammetric platforms, have demonstrated an ever-increasing efficiency for collecting, storing, organizing, and communicating tornado hazards information at a multitude of geospatial scales. Current remote-sensing technologies enable wind-engineering researchers to examine tornado effects on the built environment at various spatial scales ranging from the overall path to the neighborhood, building, and ultimately member and/or connection level. Each spatial resolution contains a unique set of challenges for efficiency, ease, and cost of data acquisition and dissemination, as well as contributions to the body of knowledge that help engineers and atmospheric scientists better understand tornado wind speeds. This paper examines the use of remote sensing technologies at four scales in recent tornado investigations, demonstrating the challenges of data collection and processing at each level as well as the utility of the information gleaned from each level in advancing the understanding of tornado effects.