Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Brown, Michael E.

Committee Member

Wax, Charles L.

Committee Member

Rodgers John C.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access



Degree Name

Master of Science


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Geosciences


Limited tornado research has been conducted across the state of California, especially when looking at the low-level thermodynamics of tornado genesis. In comparison much more research has been undertaken across the United States. This study examines low-level thermodynamic parameters associated with California tornadoes between 1960 and 2005. The study also examines similarities within the low-level thermodynamic parameters associated with California tornadoes and tornadoes associated with landfalling hurricanes between 1960 and 2005. The effect of the ocean on the low-levels of the atmosphere seems to be a strong tornado discriminator when analyzing California tornadoes. This discriminator is especially evident when breaking California into four distinct subregions. Use of low-level thermodynamic parameters in a large region such as California is a poor tornadoorecasting tool. This fact was strongly evident in this research when instability, especially in the lowest 3 km of the atmosphere, was used as a forecasting tool for California tornadoes.