Environmentalists Claim Global Warming Caused Deadly Tornadoes

JWF points out what has become an annual event. Namely, political types on the left blaming extreme weather on “climate change” (or “global warming” as it used to be known) whether or not any real link exists between the two.

It usually works something like this: An extreme bout of weather catches the attention of the media. The proponents of global warming hysteria blame it all on climate change which, in turn, is caused by greenhouse gases. And since everything we do – from breathing to driving cars to producing electricity – produces greenhouse gases it gives these proponents of big, centralized government the excuse they need to regulate everything.

The problem? Well, at least in the case of these tornadoes, you can’t really blame global warming:

US meteorologists warned Thursday it would be a mistake to blame climate change for a seeming increase in tornadoes in the wake of deadly storms that have ripped through the US south.

“If you look at the past 60 years of data, the number of tornadoes is increasing significantly, but it’s agreed upon by the tornado community that it’s not a real increase,” said Grady Dixon, assistant professor of meteorology and climatology at Mississippi State University.

“It’s having to do with better (weather tracking) technology, more population, the fact that the population is better educated and more aware. So we’re seeing them more often,” Dixon said.

But he said it would be “a terrible mistake” to relate the up-tick to climate change.

James Taylor points out that the number of severe tornadoes has actually been decreasing since the 1970’s. There are more tornadoes being detected overall, but that has more to do with improvements in the ability to detect tornadoes then the phenomena happening more frequently:

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) data, for example, show the number of strong to violent (F3-to-F5) tornadoes have been sharply declining since the mid-1970s. From 1967 through 1977 at least 30 F3-to-F5 tornadoes assaulted the U.S. each year, with an annual average of 50. Nearly 120 F3-to-F5 tornadoes struck the U.S. in 1974 alone. By comparison, merely 26 F3-to-F5 tornadoes have struck the U.S. on average each year since the turn of the century. The frequency of strong-to-violent tornadoes has been cut in half during the past 40 years.

These numbers are very important, as F3-to-F5 tornadoes produce the vast majority of damage and inflict the overwhelming majority of human casualties each year. Moreover, because modern radar technology can detect far more minimal (F1-to-F2) tornadoes than was the case in previous decades, meteorologists do not have reliable data on F1-to-F2 tornado trends. It should be noted, however, that even with modern radar technology detecting more minor tornadoes that could be detected in prior decades, the number of F2-to-F5 tornadoes (in other words, all but the very weakest of tornadoes) has similarly been declining since the mid-1970s.

This is all just more of the “never let a good crisis go to waste” stuff. The media, being the media, sensationalizes severe weather. Then the political types seize on it as an excuse to push their agendas.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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  • Jamermorrow

    If you call it climate change and not global warming than you can blame any adverse weather on human beings.

  • Camsaure

    Gee, What took them so long?

  • mickey_moussaoui

    I expect Handjob Hanni to come in here with his panties all in a bundle screeching about these events as proof of AGW. Wait for it, 3….2….1……

  • robert108

    It’s much more likely to be caused by global cooling; it has already been proven that warmer climate produces fewer hurricanes, which are seagoing tornadoes, so it’s likely that, as the climate cools down, more tornadoes will be produced.

    • JustRuss

      Sorry…seagoing tornadoes? That would be a waterspout. No, hurricanes are huge supercells wrapped around an extreme low pressure system which are fueled by heat and moisture over the ocean. Tornadoes form on the edges of Hurricanes, just like they form in any other storm system.

      That said, there is still no correlation between warming or cooling and tornado activity, the Jet Stream has more to do with tornadoes than the temperature, at least as far as a few degrees caused by AGW.

      • robert108

        So, hurricanes don’t rotate? They’re not circular storms?

        • JustRuss

          They rotate, but nowhere near the rotation of a Tornado. Their destructive power is more about their size and duration than their power.

          I didn’t mean to lecture, and I am not trying to make you look stupid I’m sorry. But having been through both there is no real correlation between the two at all except that they are destructive weather.

          Tornadoes happen inside of storms, Hurricanes ARE storms, many times with tornadoes inside them. (or if they are over water, Water Spouts)

          • robert108

            I wasn’t making a meteorological argument, just that it’s common for both hurricanes and tornadoes to be caused by the differential between two air masses, and the warmists already admitted that hurricanes are more common in cooler climate conditions rather than warm ones, after they claimed the opposite. This Spring and Winter have been quite cold, so it’s certainly plausible that is the cause of this unusual amount of tornadic activity.
            I suppose it’s more accurate to call typhoons as “seagoing tornadoes”, actually.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    So the reason for tornadoes occurring further south than usual is global warming? Someone has a little trouble with their hypothesis….as if we have true global warming, severe tornadoes ought to be shifting to the north, where the optimal conditions will be.

  • Hannitized, Proofs obsession

    Clearly this is a result of all the praying for more rain by all the nutteroo’s in Texas, it has nothing to do with climate change, that would be crazy. But clearly the praying worked.

    • tony_o2

      The topic is tornadoes, not rain. And since the number of severe tornadoes has actually decreased, the theory of “climate change is causing more severe weather” is nothing more than hysteria.

      • Hannitized, Proofs obsession

        So there is no rain with tornadoes? Thanks for that lesson, brought to you by home schooling Christian conservatism.

        • tony_o2

          Clearly this is a result of all the praying for more rain by all the nutteroo’s in Texas

          I hope you’re sitting because this may shock you…. tornadoes are not caused by rain.

          • Hannitized, Proofs obsession

            That’s some pretty good thinkin. Tornadoes and Rain come from the same conditions that were prayed for. Ooops.

      • http://realitybasedbob.sayanythingblog.com/ realitybasedbob

        Mr. o2, do ya know the easiest way to debunk a nutters claim?
        That’s right, look it up!

        “More tornadoes expected on top of April record

        A severe weather forecast this week is expected to heap more tornadoes into a month that already has seen a record number of twisters that have wrecked an airport, destroyed homes and killed scores of people.

        And May is usually worse than April, forecasters say.

        The 292 confirmed tornadoes so far this month are more than the previous April record of 267 in 1974 and almost twice the April average of 163, says severe weather expert Greg Forbes of The Weather Channel. And worse may be yet to come because usually the number of tornadoes in May is double the number in April, Forbes says.

        “We’re not yet to the time of year when these types of tornadoes are most active,” he says.

        …The high number of tornadoes reported corresponds to an increase seen since tornado reporting began 60 years ago. April tornado reports on average for the decade have increased from 74 in the 1950s to 163 in the 2000s, with only one decrease in the 1980s, he says.”

        http://www.usatoday.com/weather/storms/tornadoes/2011-04-24-missouri-tornado.htm

        • tony_o2

          The number of severe tornadoes has decreased. This tells us that global warming is not causing the severity of tornadoes to increase.

          The total number of tornadoes (specifically the moderate and weak) reported has increased over the past half-century, but even the experts admit that this data is not reliable for formulating a trend.

          “More people are reporting tornadoes than ever before,” Carbin says. “There may be more tornadoes but how are we going to know?”

          As populated areas increase, and as detection technology improves, we are undoubtedly going to see an increase in reports. But we cannot compare the number of detected tornadoes at present, to the number of undetected tornadoes of the past. “If a tree falls in the forest and nobody is around to hear it….”

          We may be setting a record this year, but what does it mean? The last record was set in 1974, at a time when we were worried about global cooling. Not to mention that a “record” that is so far off from average is an anomaly, not a trend.

          • Hannitized, Proofs obsession

            That’s some pretty good thinkin. Tornadoes and Rain come from the same conditions that were prayed for. Ooops.

  • $8194357

    Bush and Cheney had somthing to do with this I am sure….

  • DopeyDem

    If it’s caused by greenhouse gases, then the Dems surely caused this by all the methane that has been passing through their lips lately.

  • mickey_moussaoui

    The Pacific Ocean is cooling down becasue of Global Warming….lol. Apparently, all that CO2 that the oceans generate isn’t enough to warm the atmosphere enough to warm up the Pacific ocean.

    heh

    silly liberals

  • DopeyDem

    This is the Cause du jour. They had to give up on hurricanes and earthquakes because their argument with global warming didnt work, so now they’ll try it with tornados to see if that will stick. Next it will be rainbows. After that we can do HIV/AIDS, then athlete’s foot, bad breath, etc.

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