Tornadogenesis is the process by which a tornado forms. There are many types of tornadoes and these vary in methods of formation. Despite ongoing scientific study and high-profile research projects such as VORTEX, tornadogenesis is a volatile process and the intricacies of many of the mechanisms of tornado formation are still poorly understood.
A tornado is a violently rotating column of air in contact with the surface and a cumuliform cloud base. Tornado formation is caused by the stretching and aggregating/merging of environmental and/or storm-induced vorticity that tightens it into an intense vortex. There are various ways this may come about and thus various forms and sub-forms of tornadoes. Although each tornado is unique, most kinds of tornadoes go through a life cycle of formation, maturation, and dissipation. The process by which a tornado dissipates or decays, occasionally conjured as tornadolysis, is of particular interest for study as is tornadogenesis, longevity, and intensity.