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Roy Spencer: Why so many tornadoes this year? It’s not what AOC, Bernie Sanders (or maybe even you) think

May 29, 2019

By Paul Homewood



Progressive politicians like Al Gore, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D.-N.Y., don’t hesitate to blame any kind of severe weather – even if it is decreasing over time – on global warming.

With the devastating Dayton, Ohio, tornadoes fresh on our minds, it is useful to examine exactly why (modest) global warming has produced fewer – not more – of such events.

The simple answer is that tornado formation requires unusually cool air.

Very few thunderstorms produce tornadoes. In the hot and humid tropics, they are virtually unheard of.

The reason why is that (unlike hurricanes) tornadoes require strong wind shear, which means wind speed increasing and changing direction with height in the lower atmosphere.

These conditions exist only when a cool air mass collides with a warm air mass. And the perfect conditions for this have existed this year as winter has refused to lose its grip on the western United States.

So far for the month of May 2019, the average temperature across the U.S. is close to 2 degrees Fahrenheit below normal.

Every year, springtime thunderstorms in the Central and Southeast U.S. have plenty of warm, moist air to draw on from the Gulf of Mexico.

What they generally don’t have is a persistent cold air mass producing strong wind shear at the boundary between a warm and cold air mass.

In recent decades, slow warming in the U.S. has been accompanied by fewer of these cold springtime air masses over the West.

As a result, based upon official National Weather Service statistics the long-term trend of strong (EF3) to violent (EF5) tornados has been decidedly downward, with 2018 experiencing a record low in activity.

But this year, snows have extended into late May from Northern Michigan through Colorado to the Sierra of California.

Because of this persistent cold air mass, as of May 27, we are well above normal for total U.S. tornados.

This is what weather does – it varies from year to year. The alarmist claims of AOC, Gore, and Sanders are not just speculative; they are opposed by our observations and by meteorological theory.

Roy W. Spencer (Ph.D. Meteorology) is a weather and climate researcher at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. During his college years, he performed tornado damage surveys for the National Weather Service and has published studies on the use of satellite data to identify severe thunderstorms.

  1. Mike Jackson permalink
    May 29, 2019 10:52 am

    Too sophisticated for the likes of Sanders or AOC, I fear!

  2. jack broughton permalink
    May 29, 2019 11:24 am

    It always amazes me that so few of the so-called climate scientists seem to be aware of climate history before 1970. A knowledge of the works of H.H. Lamb should be compulsory for climate commentators: he studied the climate without the benefit of sophisticated satellites and computer models and certainly understood it better.

    I long ago formed the view that science is suffering from modelling rather than hands-on research (it’s much easier and leads to lots of papers) and “climate science” is the extreme of this, where inaccurate data are tormented to match poor quality mathematical models and few of the hypotheses or predictions can be tested. In “climate science” the fundamental driving force of Radiative-Forcing is not actually measurable but is a committee based assessment…..QED.

    • Steven H Yaskell permalink
      June 4, 2019 5:13 pm

      Simple: many of them – especially very influential ones like Dr. Thomas WIggley – have ERASED IT from their perfect-math modeling minds.

  3. May 29, 2019 12:10 pm

    Dr. Roy Spencer is Rush Limbaugh’s official meteorologist and has even been on the show from time to time explaining the climate situations. Rush quoted Spencer’s treatise on the need for cold air in order to spawn tornadoes just yesterday. Spencer’s colleague, John Cristy is also one to follow.

  4. Mike Jackson permalink
    May 29, 2019 12:27 pm

    Not totally on topic but please do look at Donna’s blog today:

    Especially the compilation of newspaper headlines!

  5. May 29, 2019 12:34 pm

    Reblogged this on Climate- Science.

  6. May 29, 2019 12:49 pm

    Climate change is real, it’s here and it’s dangerous. Don’t need no stinkin’ meteorology and ‘factsplaining’ from deniers. The Science is settled.

    • Hivemind permalink
      May 29, 2019 1:07 pm

      You forgot the sarc tag.

      • Rosco permalink
        May 31, 2019 12:41 am

        It’s better when it’s implied

  7. Gerry, England permalink
    May 29, 2019 1:45 pm

    ‘So far for the month of May 2019, the average temperature across the U.S. is close to 2 degrees Fahrenheit below normal.’

    But have no fear, this will adjusted out so that 2019 is another ‘warmest year evah!’

    While this is just weather, it could be that this weather will become more common in the years ahead.

    • Broadlands permalink
      May 29, 2019 3:25 pm

      It is also noteworthy (but unlikely to be reported) that NOAA’s monthly global climate reports reveal that all four months in 2019 are below those in 2016. What will happen for the remaining months is speculation, but NOAA has a history of making adjustments.

  8. It doesn't add up... permalink
    May 29, 2019 4:35 pm

    An interesting challenge for greenies and their windmills:

    I have been warning about this strategic raw material risk for quite some time.

    • PeterGB permalink
      May 29, 2019 5:45 pm

      The US has plenty of rare earths, but an “administrative error” by US regulators placed rare earth mining in the same category as thorium. All readers here will be well aware that thorium is the most radioactive substance on the face of the earth, not. The complete close down of the American rare earths industry may well be the first large successful attempt by the greenblob to attack the US industrial base.

  9. Archetype permalink
    May 29, 2019 10:14 pm

    Reblogged this on The Road to Revelation.

  10. May 31, 2019 12:36 am

    “These conditions exist only when a cool air mass collides with a warm air mass. And the perfect conditions for this have existed this year as winter has refused to lose its grip on the western United States.”

    I’d offer that it matters not so much whether that warm air mass (SE US) is +.- normal a degree, or two; rather, the fact is that that the tropical warm moist air that is most always present. Once again – it’s the collision between that moving front of colder dryer air approaching from the NW that creates the conflict that spawns the violent weather events.

  11. June 1, 2019 3:20 am

    We need an answer as to why the models have failed. The warming never occurred. The reason is provided here – the scale of the climate alarm fraud is larger than anyone has imagined:

  12. Lloyd Martin Hendaye permalink
    June 1, 2019 11:22 am

    Why yes: As cold air driven by reduced solar irradiation (TSI) washes over upper regions, warm air spirals upward from heated continental landmasses. It’s not that “cool is the new warm” but that atmospheric temperature differentials inexorably result in heavy rains, high winds, localized water-spout type vortices yclept “tornadoes”.

    Get used to it: As Earth’s 140-year “amplitude compression” rebound from the 500-year Little Ice Age (LIA) that ended the Holocene Interglacial Epoch in AD 1350 nears its end, from 2030 on a Grand Solar Minimum similar to that of 1645 – 1715 will govern planetary temperatures through AD 2100 and beyond.

    If post-Pliocene patterns hold, this plate-tectonically induced 102-kiloyear Ice Age will cover 60%+ of Earth’s crop-producing temperate-zone with 2 1/2 mile glaciations within a geophysical eye-blink. Peculating charlatans sabotaging global coal, oil, nuclear energy economies have a lot to answer for.

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