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Is the size of a tornado affected by water temperature?Featured science projectScience project video


The purpose of this experiment is to determine the relationship between water temperature and diameter of the tornado’s core.


The higher the water temperature, the larger the diameter of the tornado’s core.


How are tornadoes formed?

In countries such as the U.S., tornadoes are formed as frequent as from several hundreds a year to several thousands, maybe even tens of thousands! In general, tornadoes and hurricanes are very similar. A tornado (or hurricane) starts forming itself in a major thunderstorm known as a supercell. Supercells are thunderstorms that last longer than usual thunderstorms. As wind meets these storms (or supercells), they swirl and begin to form a funnel. The atmosphere in the funnel rotates more and more rapidly which results in a low pressure area which absorbs more air and maybe even objects into it!

The thunderstorms which create tornadoes are formed when warm moist tropical air collides with cold dry polar air.

Which countries are affected by tornadoes?

Southern Africa, New Zealand, South America, Central European Countries, Italy, Australia and the United States are countries worst affected by tornadoes.

People are warned about an upcoming tornado by certain organizations such as the Storm Prediction Center. Households in tornado zones mostly have in built underground shelters to remain safe during a tornado attack. As soon as the people receive news about an upcoming attack, they immediately rush to the basement shelter and remain there until the tornado subsides. People can get the news of an upcoming attack via radio reports and television news report. However, inhabitants should stay alert themselves at all times in case all else fails. There’s a high chance of an upcoming attack if the sky has a sudden change of colour from blue to greenish black and the clouds are moving faster than usual.

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Complexity level:
Project cost ($):
Time required:
3 to 4 hours for preparation and observation
Material availability:
Materials should be obtainable from nearby departmental stores
Safety concerns:

Students should take precautionary steps by wearing protective gears such as mask and gloves at all times. Adult supervision is required as students are handling sharp objects such as the saw. Be careful when handling the dry ice.