Robert MacDonald

Robert MacDonald is currently a grade 11 student from Halifax, Nova Scotia. Robert has been interested in all fields of math and science for many years. One of his main interests is severe weather which he has been researching for many years and has taken over a dozen online meteorology courses to further his knowledge.

This year, his project titled “Severe Tornado Outbreaks: Finding Mechanical and Thermodynamic Relationships” aimed at comparing, quantifying and modeling specific mechanical and thermodynamic relationships between multiple meteorological parameters and indices that are associated with severe tornado outbreaks in the United States. Through analyzing over 40 tornado outbreaks collectively producing around 3,625 tornadoes, he was able to connect the effects of thermodynamic instability, wind shear, dew point depression, and many other meteorological parameters to better predict severe tornado outbreaks. One aspect of his project focused on a currently non-predictive parameter known dew point depression which measures moisture content in the atmosphere. By creating his own meteorological equations and logarithms, he developed a novel method to predict the logarithmic growth of convective instability in the atmosphere. This improved understanding of the mechanisms behind severe tornado outbreaks will lead to longer warning lead times, giving those in the path more time to seek shelter.

For his research Robert has won multiple awards. At the Halifax Sci-Tech Expo, he won an award for having the best project pertaining to atmospheric or oceanographic sciences, a medal of excellence and an opportunity to advance to the Canada-Wide Science Fair in Windsor, Ontario. There, he won a gold medal of excellence in the senior category.

After high school, Robert plans on attending university to pursue studies in the field of physics and math.

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