Their research was based on computer modelling rather than field observations and sampling and could shed some light on the mystery of why some so-called supercell thunderstorms blow themselves out while others crank up the extreme weather a notch and generate twisters which rip through the landscape.
The team compared two computer models - one with clear air and the other with a high level of fine particulate matter. In the clear-air model, tornadoes never quite formed, while in the pollution-heavy model, they did with some frequency.
David Lerach, leader of the research team, admits it is still unclear as to why exactly this might be but says it could be that the dust prevents water in the atmosphere from condensing into big enough droplets to fall as rain, thus stopping the storm from breaking….The 1995 tornado in Dimmett, Texas, shot by an extremely brave guy named Harald Richter. NOAA