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MLP Tornado Analysis by cuwxnerd MLP Tornado Analysis by cuwxnerd
I'm a meteorologist of sorts, so I wanted to know how well the tornado in the last episode, "hurricane fluttershy" matched up to a physical tornado. The results surprised me immensely. It appears physical, with winds around 130mph, or an EF-2.

So much fun to do.
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:icondavidcurser:
DavidCurser Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2013
tl:dr, also, it has Math in it ... cmon, you serious?
I like the Ponies in it.
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:iconzombiewalrus1:
ZombieWalrus1 Featured By Owner May 27, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
Chances really are that all the ponies would die from all the debree picked up out of the water or land hitting them
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:iconkopaleo:
KopaLeo Featured By Owner May 24, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
When you mentioned vector at the end, I thought you meant the unit vector you used for the radial direction of the tornado.

Anyway, as a student of theoretical physics, I found this pretty awesome, if only the use of non-SI units a bit confusing.
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:iconwinstorm:
WinStorm Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2012
I thought this was an excellent analysis. brohoof!
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:icondbluebird89d:
dbluebird89d Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2012  Student Digital Artist
What I see: Just how strong is the tornado? ...... (Twilight Sparkle pictures) ...... Unnecessary Picture of Twilight XD make a Fluttershy version next XD
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:iconpassifloracaerulea:
PassifloraCaerulea Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2012
Now I feel even less intelligent than I normally do...
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:iconradlanjay:
RadlanJay Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2012
OK. Now I feel as totally fool.
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:iconthedarkericdraven:
TheDarkEricDraven Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2012
This is so cool, dude! As a lover of tornados and My Little Pony, you have my approval!
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:iconlegskeletor:
legskeletor Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2012
I weep for you.
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:iconvinluv:
vinluv Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2012
I clopped for you.
Totally read that in Twilight voice.
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:iconthedarkericdraven:
TheDarkEricDraven Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2012
Do you mean that as a pun on "clapped" or...the other thing bronies use "clop" for?
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:iconpinkie-pirate:
Pinkie-pirate Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2012
think about this, if we calculated how much force it would take to turn the anemoeter, couln't that divided by 800 (the WP needed to turn make the tornado) give us the force of one wing power?
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:iconcuwxnerd:
cuwxnerd Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2012
yes, but I have absolutely no idea how to do that without pure assumptions
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:iconpinkie-pirate:
Pinkie-pirate Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2012
true, because we don't have the material of the anemoeter that would be impossible
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:iconmiwauturu:
MiwAuturu Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2012
The fact that you've wasted this much time on a children's show is honestly pretty pathetic.
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:icontrips-ocho:
Trips-Ocho Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
And the fact that you bothered to leave this comment isn't?
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:iconcg6:
CG6 Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2012
How so?
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:iconpreternaturous:
preternaturous Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2012  Student Filmographer
This is pretty awesome. Even more awesome since the math shows that the tornado was realistic, based upon the assumptions you were forced to make. But it leaves one last question.

If the base unit of rate of air flow is "Wing Speed", how fast is 1 wing speed, really?

So at the risk of looking like an idiot, we'll figure it with basic algebra. ;)

We know according to your equations that the tornado had a wind speed of approximately 131.7 miles per hour or 212 kilometers per hour. And from the episode we know that they just barely achieved the minimum required to lift the water: 800 wing power. So:

131.7/800=0.16 miles per hour.
212/800=0.27 kilometers per hour.

That's pretty cool. But let's go a step further. What was Rainbow Dash's top speed in the episode? According to Twilight's anemometer, she flew with 16.5 wingpower. Apparently, that's impressive. but how impressive?

0.16*16.5=2.64 m/h? What!? RD has to fly faster than that! That's so slow! So either my math is wrong, which is incredibly possible. I did hate math. Or...pony physics do not follow the same rules that ours does. xD
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:iconcountcarbon:
CountCarbon Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
The anemometer didn't calculate Dashies speed but the air-cushion she generates. To make such force to bleed over, you need to go pretty damn fast, you do the math ;)
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:iconcuwxnerd:
cuwxnerd Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2012
Ah, the problem is that the ponies, RD included, are probably flying about the speed of the tornado, or about 131mph. This is reinforced by watching the scene.

The number you came up with is each wing power's contribution to the overall speed of the tornado. So RD contributed 2.64 mph of the tornado's overall speed of 131 mph.
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:iconminingpyropony:
miningpyropony Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2012
Screw Physics im Rainbow Dash
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:iconsuddenlyahat:
suddenlyahat Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2012
Took the words right out of my mouth :shifty:
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:iconchipuni:
chipuni Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2012
*jaw drops*

Congratulations. You have out-nerded Twilight Sparkle... and, you know what?

It was very entertaining and well-written. Great job!
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:iconsparkiye:
Sparkiye Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2012  Hobbyist
I didn't understand this at all. ;_____;
But I read it all the way through anyways, so I'll fave it too! ^^;
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:iconacer-rubrum:
Acer-Rubrum Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
The meteorologist in me is squealing with glee right now :dance:

Thanks for using my vector! And i can't wait for your next overanalytical exercise in ponies.

Have fun chasing this spring!
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:icontk-2147:
TK-2147 Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2012
I've been doing math all day, and I hate it so much.

But this. I'd become all kinds of mathematician for this.
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:iconthemanwithplan:
Themanwithplan Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2012
wow. your maths amaze me. I'm actually kind of surprised that a vortex designed first and foremost to look good on the tv screen comes out to have such reasonable math. it's nothing liek what happened with the sonic rainboom.
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:iconzzxno:
ZZXNO Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2012
You are overflowing with awesome...:)
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:iconmaniacnf:
maniacnf Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2012
I like the part with math
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:icongefey:
Gefey Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2012
Epic win. I look forward to when I am able to do this as an engineering student!
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:iconanhero23:
anhero23 Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2012
Physics major here. Now, I see that you mentioned the Coriolis effect and was wondering if it was even necessary to mention it. Normally I would say that the tornado is too small to allow for the Coriolis effect to be significant, but I noticed that you were actually talking about a specific point in the tornado (like you said, a chunk). Do chunks of vortexes get affected by the Coriolis effect in reference to the actual tornado itself being the rotating system (as opposed to the entire earth and the band of air around the equator being the system)?

... I just read the very next sentence. I should really read the entire thing before jumping to questions... I'm going to keep my paragraph up just because it serves as a reminder of my silliness.

Next question! Why do you assume that waterspouts aren't tornadic vortices?

... and after doing a bit of research (wikipedia), I have discovered that most waterspouts are classified as non-tornadic.

Overlooking all your other work has led me to the conclusion... that the science is strong with you. Good job, this is the very first non-art DA submission that's going in my favorites.
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:iconamior:
Amior Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
TOO MUCH MATH!!!!!
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:iconaeonswing:
AeonsWing Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
This is absolutely awesome.
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:iconds2096:
ds2096 Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2012
Here's my problem with the whole thing: it's impossible. Atmospheric pressure can't lift water past 34 feet! So there must be something else that goes on at 88 miles per hour800 wingpower that not only lifts the water out of the reservoir, but sends it flying all the way to Cloudsdale. Magical field generation, like a magical brush dynamo? Strange air pressure physics related to the Sonic Rainboom effect? I admit to being stumped.
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:iconcuwxnerd:
cuwxnerd Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2012
Definitely echo.

Normally, there are all kinds of thermodynamic things that give us buoyancy and updrafts and non-hydrostatic effects in a tornado or thunderstorm.

From the episode, I don't think we have evaporation (why else would we need a tornado to move water?) so latent heating and cooling from evaporation and condensation seems to be nonexistent. So pressure has to pick up the slack.

I don't know if gravity is what limits it to 34 feet, but I assume that is the case. I suppose I should check that out. That said, I don't think gravity shows up in any of my calculations (unless the gas constant for dry air contains something).

And yeah, more fundamentally, tornadoes don't tend to "suck things up". They tend to flip them and move them and things like that.
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:iconds2096:
ds2096 Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2012
What limits it to 34 feet is that "suction" isn't real. A tornado's high winds create a low-pressure zone in a column--just like you create a low-pressure zone inside a straw. It doesn't create any force acting on the water; it just removes the weight of the atmosphere pushing down on the rest of the surface of the water.

Imagine a piston in a cylinder full of water. It pushes down on the water, but there's a tight seal, so nothing happens. Now imagine a piston with a straw in it. When the piston pushes down, there's one spot--where the straw is--that isn't pushing down. The water is forced upward through it by the rest of the piston pushing down. That's the same thing that happens when you use suction to lift liquid, except the force is atmospheric pressure instead of a piston.

So, given that, what happens at 34 feet (assuming your suction power is a perfect vacuum) isn't exactly gravity, it's water pressure. When water is lifted by suction to a height of 34 feet, the pressure in the water, caused by the water's weight, is equal to one atmosphere. If the atmospheric pressure is higher, the water can go higher. This is why water pumps go at the bottom of wells, not at the top. Oh, and while you're at it, you might as well mark lines on the side of your 34-foot straw and call it a barometer.

I know I'm kind of dumbing this down to someone who clearly knows physics, but y'know, someone else might read it too.
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:iconsweetbrains:
sweetbrains Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2012
Grad student in physics, <3 you.
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:iconpikamander2:
Pikamander2 Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Mmhmm. I know some of these words.
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:iconsanitynevermore:
sanitynevermore Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Golf clap.
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:iconvernes:
vernes Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2012
My hat off to you Herr Professor.
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:iconblackzhawk:
BlackZHawk Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This makes me want to go into engineering
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:iconoronatur:
Oronatur Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2012
Wow, this is awesome! C: As a engineeringstudent, I really enjoyed reading this. ^^
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