Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Dixon, Grady

Committee Member

Rodgers, John

Committee Member

Brown, Mike

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science


College of Arts and Sciences


The role of topography on the spatial distribution of tornadoes was assessed through geospatial and statistical techniques. A 100-m digital elevation model was used to create slope, aspect, and surface roughness maps; and; tornado beginning and ending points and paths were used to extract terrain information. Tornado touchdowns, liftoffs, paths, and path-land angles were examined to determine whether tornado paths occur more frequently in or along certain terrain or slopes. Statistical analyses, such as bootstrapping, were used to analyze tornado touchdowns, liftoffs and paths and path-relative terrain angles. Results show that tornado paths are more common with downhill-movement. Tornadoes are not as likely to move uphill because the 73.6 percent northeast path bias represents the highest frequencies of path-angles. Tornado touchdowns and paths occur more often in smooth terrain, rather than rough terrain. Complex topographic variability seems to not have an effect on the spatial distribution of tornadoes.



slope threshold||path-land angle||bootstrapping||random sampling||random samples||85th percentile||95th percentile||percentiles