General Question

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zenvelo's avatar

It isn’t the opposite of a tornado, but it is different. A microburst is a sudden downdraft blows straight to the ground; a tornado must by definition be a rotational system, Both involve weather phenomena of high winds descending from high altitude to ground level.

kritiper's avatar

Actually, tornados involve very warm air rising rapidly through a cold air mass. Hence the sucking up of stuff. Microbursts, like @zenvelo said, blow down.

RocketGuy's avatar

In a microburst, air goes downwards then radially outwards from the center when it nears the ground. You can’t see a microburst. If you are in a plane flying towards the center, the plane will suddenly see higher airspeed. This is surprising and inconvenient because it will suddenly pop you up in altitude. When you pass the center, the plane will suddenly see lower airspeed. This is surprising and dangerous. Too low airspeed and the plane will stall and crash. Many flyers have died because of this.

You can see a tornado. The air moves upwards and circumferentially. Most pilots can see and avoid them.

flo's avatar

Got it. Now I see where they got the word opposite from. It’s in @si3tech‘s link.

kritiper's avatar

I’ve heard of some microbursts that blew the plane into the ground.

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