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

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.

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