Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Brown, Michael E.

Committee Member

Dyer, Jamie L.

Committee Member

Rodgers John, C. III

Committee Member

Dixon, Paul G.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science


Many studies have suggested that the tornado database is biased by the concentration of human observers. Some studies have shown a possible 66% decrease in tornado reporting can be directly attributed to population density. This study examines whether or not such biases exist throughout the United States. Population data are compared to the historical tornado database in order to better understand the relationship(s) between each variable. Various statistical and spatial techniques are implemented in order to better identify relationships. As expected, weak (F0-F1) tornadoes show a correlation to both population patterns and travel routes. However, not all regions of the United States share the same relationships during the study period. Therefore, any meaningful adjustment to the tornado climatology cannot be made because of the variation in both spatial and temporal changes.