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Climate Change Makes US Tornadoes Worse–As They Weaken & Decline!

April 21, 2020
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By Paul Homewood

Talking of tornadoes, this is a good example of how the climate scam works.

This PBS report was published in May 2019:

 image

When Americans hear the word tornado, their minds may bolt to huge twisters rolling across northern Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Kansas, like a scene out of “The Wizard of Oz.”

But the deadliest U.S tornado in six years didn’t strike the Great Plains — instead, it touched down Sunday hundreds of miles away in Alabama and Georgia. On Monday and Tuesday, search crews, aided by dogs and drones, sifted through wreckage caused by the violent tornado, which blew across 30 miles with winds reaching up to 170 miles per hour. So far, the storm has killed 23 people, including three children, and dozens remain missing.

Rather than lie squarely in the Great Plains, America’s tornadoes appear to be sliding into the Midwest and Southeast.

While this weekend’s storms took the Southeast by surprise, the events fit into a growing trend for a region meteorologists now call Dixie Alley. Since the turn of the millennium, the Dixie Alley has witnessed an ever-increasing onslaught of tornadoes.

Rather than lie squarely in the Great Plains, America’s tornadoes appear to be sliding into the Midwest and Southeast.

“Whether this is climate change or not, what all the studies have shown is that this particular part of the U.S. has been having more tornado activity and more tornado outbreaks than it has had in decades before,” said Mike Tippett, a Columbia University applied mathematician who studies the climate.

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/science/is-climate-change-making-u-s-tornadoes-worse

 

In fact, as the SPC point out, the hot spot for the strongest tornadoes, EF-4+, is not the Great Plains at all, but Dixie Alley centred in Mississippi and Alabama, based on 1986-2015 climatology:

https://www.spc.noaa.gov/wcm/climo/viotorn.png

https://www.spc.noaa.gov/wcm/climo/viotorn.png

The same is true with all tornadoes:

https://www.spc.noaa.gov/wcm/climo/ef1torn.png

https://www.spc.noaa.gov/wcm/climo/ef1torn.png

The article goes onto quote the hopelessly flawed study by Victor Gensini:

“As an entire country, the United States hadn’t seen much change in the frequency of tornado events [since the 1970s,]” said Victor Gensini, an atmospheric scientist at the Northern Illinois University who studies extreme weather. But last October, his team reported a major geographical change.

After examining a giant repository of severe weather reports — collected by storm chasers, news outlets, emergency managers and the public — the team found a shift in the location of the nation’s so-called Tornado Alley.

Rather than lie squarely in the Great Plains, America’s tornadoes appear to be sliding into the Midwest and Southeast. This finding is worrying because it means severe weather and tornadoes are pushing into states and communities with higher densities of people — raising the chances of human casualties and property destruction. Gensini’s lab has also found hailstorms, another feature of convective storms like tornadoes, have increased across the nation — though this work is yet to be published.

“That doesn’t mean that Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas don’t get tornadoes. They still see a majority of the tornadoes every year,” Gensini said. It’s more [that] the trend in those locations is downward over the past 40 years and increasing in places further to the east.”

I demolished that study at the time here. Below is the key chart:

image

 

Clearly, apart form the outlier year of 2011, strong tornadoes have been declining in Alabama, the opposite of what was being claimed. As often with these sort of studies, Gensini used 1979 as the start of his analysis. I wonder why?

 

So much of this PBS story is straight out of the climate change playbook – take a single weather event, claim it is part of a trend, quote a highly flawed study with cherry picked dates written by someone who is not even an expert in the subject, play on public misconceptions, and blame it all on climate change.

12 Comments
  1. April 21, 2020 10:29 pm

    “Whether this is climate change or not, what all the studies have shown is that this particular part of the U.S. has been having more tornado activity …”.

    Even if that claim were true, unless the increasing atmospheric concentration CO2 alone has some yet to be discovered direct influence on tornado formation it’s not climate change™.
    The NOAA summary for Mississippi:
    “Mississippi has exhibited little overall warming in near-surface air temperatures over the 20th and early 21st centuries”.
    https://statesummaries.ncics.org/chapter/ms/
    The NOAA summary for Alabama:
    “Record average annual temperatures in the 1920s and 1930s were followed by large cooling in the middle of the 20th century. Temperatures have warmed about 1.5°F since the 1970s to levels slightly below the 1920s and 1930s”.
    https://statesummaries.ncics.org/chapter/al/

  2. Nancy & John Hultquist permalink
    April 21, 2020 11:59 pm

    Activists with “Climate Change Syndrome” (CCS) just make up schist.

    • April 22, 2020 11:51 am

      Do you imply that the schist might metamorphose into something??? We have TDS and now CCS?

  3. April 22, 2020 3:55 am

    Both 1974 and 2011 (the years with the two largest tornado outbreaks) had strong La Ninas. Colder Pacific ocean water off the west coast. This seems to have enabled cold fronts to stay colder before they moved west to east across the US. Severe weather needs colliding air masses of different temperatures, which happens most often in the spring and fall. The tropics do not change temperature much throughout the seasons so the warm moist air coming up from the Gulf of Mexico doesn’t vary greatly. What does vary is the temperature of cold fronts that collide with the warm air from the Gulf.
    The alarmist claim that warming leads to stronger storms has a serious flaw. If warming makes things worse when it comes to severe weather why are summers subject to clear, cloudless skies and stationary high pressure heat waves? Shouldn’t the summer be filled with storm clouds?

    • April 22, 2020 8:43 am

      Some good points there.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      April 22, 2020 9:02 am

      To put it differently, why would a very small change in a global average temperature cause significant increases in localised extreme weather events?

      I can believe the climate changes, but these claims about extreme weather are othing more than scare stories for the gullible.

  4. john cooknell permalink
    April 22, 2020 10:52 am

    Just imagine if only a bit of the investment and effort put in to “Climate Change” had been put in to preparing for a pandemic.

    This is why the Green movement are wrong!

  5. April 22, 2020 12:08 pm

    PBS is the taxpayer-funded: “Public (Peoples?) Broadcasting System”. Think BBC. Same thing. Same crap. Trump has been working to de-fund it and oh the howls from the elite. Their sister poo-dispenser is NPR, the National Peoples (oops, that is Public) Radio. They are fraught with thoughtful elitist programs disseminating Marxist excrement in voices akin to the Harvard faculty-lounge lizards.

    What you would usually pick out of your yard after an ill-mannered neighbor walks their dog can be found in great quantity on PBS.

    I am not certain how the leap was made to include West Virginia in the second tornado-prone area map. Due to the mountains, we do not get many tornadoes. A few and some warnings when weather conditions seem to be coming together in that fashion. However, they are blessedly scarce here. I am not certain what to make of the little patch of light color in the very mid-southern part of the state. Actually that area gets some of the more severe weather at times. Maybe he just broke his crayon.

  6. Tom Abbott permalink
    April 23, 2020 4:08 pm

    I live in Oklahoma. Last year Oklahoma had a record rainfall and along with that a record number of tornadoes because the focus of energy was right through Oklahoma and the storm fronts just kept coming one right after another, all spring..

    This “Dixie Alley” is just the weather fronts shifting around periodically. Last year the focus was up through Texas and Oklahoma which both had record rainfall.

    This year the cold Canadian air is pushing a little farther south into Oklahoma and the Tornado Alley states, and this is pushing the focus of energy (southwest to northeast jetstream) to the east a little bit. This happens all the time. It is nothing unusual. It certainly has nothing to do with CO2. It just depends on how the jet streams line up, and as far as I know, noone has connected CO2 to jet stream behavior.

  7. Tom Abbott permalink
    April 23, 2020 4:14 pm

    Btw, It rained so much in Oklahoma last year it almost destroyed our submarine, the Batfish, which is tied up at a dock on the Arkansas river.

    The floods darn near washed it down the river, where it would have run into a lock and dam structure and been destroyed. It’s still at its dock, but listing a little bit. It needs a lot of repairs now.

  8. Tom Abbott permalink
    April 23, 2020 4:19 pm

    Of the record number of tornadoes in Oklahoma last year, none of them were of the more powerful EF4 or EF5 types. They were mostly EF0 and EF1 strength tornadoes.

    This is a change. We were used to having much stronger tornadoes in the past. The strength of most tornadoes seems to be decreasing, although there will always be a couple of big EF4 or EF5 tornadoes around. Don’t let your guard down! 🙂

  9. April 23, 2020 9:55 pm

    Is Climate Change Making US Tornadoes Worse?

    Betteridge’s law of headlines is an adage that states: “Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no.”

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