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ERIC Number: EJ1084632
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Nov
Pages: 9
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1089-9995
Conceptions of Tornado Wind Speed and Land Surface Interactions among Undergraduate Students in Nebraska
Van Den Broeke, Matthew S.; Arthurs, Leilani
Journal of Geoscience Education, v63 n4 p323-331 Nov 2015
To ascertain novice conceptions of tornado wind speed and the influence of surface characteristics on tornado occurrence, 613 undergraduate students enrolled in introductory science courses at a large state university in Nebraska were surveyed. Our findings show that students lack understanding of the fundamental concepts that (1) tornadoes are primarily atmospheric phenomena, and (2) they are only weakly influenced by the underlying land surface. A common alternate conception was that land surface features offer protection from tornadoes. For example, many students thought that (1) tornadoes generally cannot occur over snow cover or in mountainous terrain, (2) locally lower areas and hills provide protection from tornadoes, and (3) cities are not as susceptible to tornadoes as surrounding areas. Students also lacked an accurate conception of the wind speed in strong tornadoes.
National Association of Geoscience Teachers. Carleton College W-SERC, One North College Street, Northfield, MN 55057. Tel: 540-568-6675; Fax: 540-568-8058; e-mail:; Website:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Nebraska
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A