Global Geological And Climatic Events

Tornado’s dynamics and its India connection


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Tornado, Cyclones difference

Mains level : Rising events of Tropical Cyclone in India

Babu ChunderSikur Chatterjee’s paper was the earliest record of a tornado’s dynamics in the history of meteorology, according to a study.

Try this PYQ:

Q. In the South Atlantic and South-Eastern Pacific regions in tropical latitudes, cyclone does not originate. What is the reason? (CSP 2015)

(a) Sea surface temperatures are low

(b) Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone seldom occurs

(c) Coriolis force is too weak

(d) Absence of land in those regions

What is a Tornado?

  • A tornado is a rapidly rotating column of air that is in contact with both the surface of the Earth and a cumulonimbus cloud or, in rare cases, the base of a cumulus cloud.
  • The windstorm is often referred to as a twister, whirlwind or cyclone winds blow counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern.
  • Tornadoes come in many shapes and sizes, and they are often visible in the form of a condensation funnel originating from the base of a cumulonimbus cloud, with a cloud of rotating debris and dust beneath it.
  • It is generally accompanied by extreme weather such as heavy downpours, hail storms, and lightning.

Who was Babu ChunderSikur Chatterjee?

  • Chatterjee was an Indian scientist employed with the Surveyor General of India during the British colonial era.
  • He was likely the first person to scientifically document a tornado’s path in 1865, a study from the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune, has claimed.
  • Chatterjee had published his findings in a journal named Proceedings of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, in a paper titled ‘Note on a whirlwind at Pundooah’, near Hooghly.
  • The paper described a tornado’s dynamics in meticulous detail and was accompanied by a sketch that mathematically depicted its scale, track and rotation.

His work


  • Chatterjee quantitatively mapped the entire trail of á tornado’s destruction.
  • He benefited from the rare opportunity to observe a tornado passing through a railway track where there were conveniently placed markers at predefined locations.
  • This enabled him to observe and make clear measurements of the tornado’s direction, dynamics and path.


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