Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Elen Cutrim

Second Advisor

Dr. Lisa DeChano

Third Advisor

Dr. Gregory Veeck

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


The possible relationships between El Nino Southern Oscillation and tornado frequency and intensity (as measured by the Fujita Scale) within Texas are explored in this paper. Reported tornado occurrences from 1950-2000 are compared to the Japan Meteorological Agency's Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly Index to discover significant patterns and trends throughout the state. Overall, results reveal that more intense tornadoes are likely to touchdown during the cold phase (La Nina) of the ENSO cycle. Regional differences are also observed with the La Nina extreme favoring increases in tornado frequency and intensity within distinct areas of the state. Finally, the cold swing of the ENSO pendulum is found to augment tornado frequency and intensity during the Spring (April-June) months while only enhancing tornado intensity during the Winter months (January-March). Although a causal relationship between tornadoes and ENSO is lacking, findings do indicate that both phenomena may indeed be linked.

Included in

Geography Commons