Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Mercer, Andrew E.

Committee Member

Brown, Michael E.

Committee Member

Dixon, P. Grady

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


Geosciences (Professional Meteorology/Climatology)

Degree Name

Master of Science


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Geosciences


Tornado outbreaks have significant human impact, so it is imperative forecasts of these phenomena are accurate. As a synoptic setup lays the foundation for a forecast, synoptic-scale aspects of Storm Prediction Center (SPC) outbreak forecasts of varying accuracy were assessed. The percentages of the number of tornado outbreaks within SPC 10% tornado probability polygons were calculated. False alarm events were separately considered. The outbreaks were separated into quartiles using a point-in-polygon algorithm. Statistical composite fields were created to represent the synoptic conditions of these groups and facilitate comparison. Overall, temperature advection had the greatest differences between the groups. Additionally, there were significant differences in the jet streak strengths and amounts of vertical wind shear. The events forecasted with low accuracy consisted of the weakest synoptic-scale setups. These results suggest it is possible that events with weak synoptic setups should be regarded as areas of concern by tornado outbreak forecasters.