Crop health can tell a lot about environmental conditions and it may now be able to help rate the intensity of a tornado. A research project based out of Western University is looking to how they can use the crop health index they developed in researching tornado intensity. Tornado's in the Canadian prairies are often difficult to rate on the EF scale due to the fact that a lot touch down in open fields and do not hit structures. Structure damage is the main tool used in rating a tornado's intensity, so by default most are given a default rating of EF0 in the prairies.

One of the first problems The Northern Tornadoes Project (NTP) tackled was related to the Boreal forest region in Canada and how to detect tornado occurrence and intensity in a vast area that is unpopulated.  The success of that research is leading them to applying the same principles to crop and pasture land. The method involves using infrared signal from satellite imagery to gather an idea of crop health before and after a tornado occurrence. They have been using this method to find location and track of tornados.  Dr Dave Sills executive director of NTP says "We are seeing it may be possible to get some tornado intensity information out of the data based on the crop health and how much was damaged."

This method will allow for better tornado ratings in areas with pasture and crops. Understanding the strength of tornados is important to mitigate against harm to people and property. It helps municipalities develop proper emergency preparedness protocols, ensures proper building codes, and gives us a better understanding of severe weather in Canada and the impacts it may have.