Meteorological Correlation Coefficient and the Tornadic Debris Signature (TDS) Metrics

As I promised in my earlier post, I said I would highlight some of my discussions and my research journey into meteorology. So here is the first such post dealing with a couple of very interesting discussions I have been having with meteorologists.

Here are some of my impressions I have drawn from these wonderful discussions:

I wanted to follow up with a response based upon my earlier questions regarding the correlation coefficient and just some impressions from a non-meteorologist but someone really interested in data in whatever form it takes.  The first impression has to do with the term correlation coefficient which for the non-meteorologist is slightly confusing, especially if you are coming from the social sciences.  When I look at the intent and purpose of the correlation coefficient, a term like “debris coefficient” seems more appropriate.  It doesn’t change the interpretation, I think it just better describes its intent.  I found it especially confusing when I was reading about the correlation coefficient being correlated with some other metric or variable.

The second impression was in viewing radar scopes and their interpretation.  I found that very fascinating and I think the raw data behind the radar scope displays would be even more interesting to analyze.  It would be interesting to see if there are any thresholds or tipping points right before the TDS – Tornadic Debris Signature begins to establish itself.  I have found in many assorted data distributions that there are trigger points, thresholds, or tipping points which have a profound impact on subsequent data.  For example, are there statistical predictors in earlier data that predict the formation of the tornado.  If it has not been done already, this could be an interesting analytical framework.

Another impression I had is the wealth of resources available, especially the number of online courses made available through NOAA/NWS.  I would highly recommend to anyone interested in meteorology to consult the following site (, you will not be disappointed in seeing what is at your fingertips. 

RMetS Member: 59934

About Dr Fiene

Dr. Rick Fiene has spent his professional career in improving the quality of child care in various states, nationally, and internationally. He has done extensive research and publishing on the key components in improving child care quality through an early childhood program quality indicator model of training, technical assistance, quality rating & improvement systems, professional development, mentoring, licensing, risk assessment, differential program monitoring, and accreditation. Dr. Fiene is a retired professor of human development & psychology (Penn State University) where he was department head and director of the Capital Area Early Childhood Research and Training Institute.
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