Photo courtesy of Troy Anderson
This photo provides an additional view of the Auglaize County cold air funnel. The processes behind cold air funnel formation are not completely understood by meteorologists, and scientists are still researching this phenomenon. Cold air funnels are most commonly observed in the vicinity of a closed off, cold-core midlevel low (see the link to the upper level map provided for this photo). The cold air aloft associated with these lows provides an unstable environment in which showers and thunderstorms may form. This cold air is how cold air funnels get their name. However the cold air aloft only provides instability for convection, it does not govern how the funnel clouds form. The upper rotation associated with the upper low provides an environment rich with vorticity, or "spin". It is believed that within this spinning environment, localized areas of higher vorticity exist. Thanks to the cold air aloft, updrafts are able to develop and stretch the vorticity in the environment. Stretching of vorticity creates a column of rapidly-spinning air, and it is believed that this may lead to the development of a funnel cloud.