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 was a prominent severe storms researcher. His research at the University of Chicagomarker on severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, hurricanes, and typhoons revolutionized knowledge of each.


Fujita was born in Kitakyushu, Fukuoka Prefecturemarker, Japan. He studied at Kyushu Institute of Technology and was an associate professor there until 1953 when he was invited to the University of Chicago after a professor there became interested in his research.


Fujita is recognized as the discoverer of downbursts and microbursts and also developed the Fujita scale which differentiates tornado intensity and links tornado damage with wind speed.

Fujita's most well-known contributions were in tornado research‚ÄĒhe was often called "Mr. Tornado" by his associates and by the media. Much of what we now know about tornadoes was either discovered or advanced by his efforts. In addition to the Fujita scale, he was a pioneer in the development of tornado overflight and damage survey techniques. He established the value of photometric analysis of tornado pictures and films, to establish wind speeds at various heights at the surface of tornado vortices.

In another major addition to tornado knowledge, he was instrumental in developing the concept of multiple vortex tornadoes, which feature multiple small funnels (suction vortices) rotating within a larger parent cloud. His work established that, far from being rare events as was previously believed, most powerful tornadoes were composed of multiple vortices. He also advanced the concept of mini-swirls in intensifying tropical cyclones.

A master of mesoscale analysis throughout his career, it was his independent development of advanced techniques as a young scientist in Japan which prompted Horace Byers to invite him to the University of Chicagomarker upon overviewing his work. He continued to advance mesoscale meteorology with a keen ability to glean details and synthesize vast information in developing revolutionary theories.


  1. USA Today 2005-03-16

Further reading

  • Rosenfeld, Jeff (May/Jun 1999). "Mr. Tornado: The life and career of Ted Fujita". Weatherwise, pp 18


  • Fujita, Tetsuya Theodore (1992). Memoirs of an Effort to Unlock the Mystery of Severe Storms. WRL Research Paper Number 239.

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