A simple vortex model of a thunderstorm downburst – a parametric evaluation

Michael Jesson*, Mark Sterling

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
213 Downloads (Pure)


Thunderstorm downbursts are short-lived, transient extreme wind events which can cause wind speeds equivalent to a category EF3 tornado (~150mph). The complex flow field which they produce has previously been the subject of time-expensive numerical modelling. However, it is well-known that there is a large, random variation in full-scale downbursts and so a quick, easily varied model would be of benefit to engineers calculating dynamic loading on structures. This paper introduces a simple and computationally inexpensive vortex model of a downburst, which is shown to model the main features of the flow field in a physically simulated thunderstorm downburst to an appropriate degree of accuracy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Wind Engineering and Industrial Aerodynamics
Early online date21 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018


  • Transient winds
  • Numerical model
  • Vortex
  • Thunderstorm
  • Downburst


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