Tornadoes And AGW?

“And you know look – yesterday, or the day before yesterday, we had the tornado in Minneapolis,” Roker said. “We have had these tornadoes and earlier this week we had a tornado in Philadelphia. And so, you know our weather, or climate change is such now that we are seeing this kind of weather not just in rural parts of our country, but in urban centers as well.”


-Al Roker (HT: Daily Caller)

Global Warming must be remarkable. It not only spawns more tornadoes, but it aims them directly for urban areas these days. It most likely does neither, and I’ll lay off the snark. What happened recently in both Joplin, MO., and Tuscaloosa, AL was very serious and very dangerous.

It just requires certain patience, I guess. It requires equipoise not to slam backers of the Rapture by Anthropogenic Global Warming Cult when they hitch their theoretical wagon to any unpleasant weather event that comes to pass and claims that this proves our climate is being irreparably changed. Just recently, we all got reminded of how it was the 5-year anniversary of “An Inconvenient Truth.” As if anyone needed reminding that there was such a theory as The Greenhouse Hypothesis.

Fortunately, more intelligent commentators have taken up the question of whether AGW was increasingly causing strong tornadoes. ABC News asked Greg Garbin of The National Weather Center about the connection between tornadoes and AGW. They ask him the question point-blank below.

ABC News: ‘Are strong tornadoes a result of global warming?’

He responds in somewhat indefinite fashion below. He believes its possible, but doesn’t believe enough evidence exists to credibly link AGW and tornadic thunderstorms.


Carbin: “With respect to a connection to climate change … it’s an unanswered question, essentially. We know that there are ingredients that thunderstorms need that could increase in a warmer world, but we also know there are ingredients that may decrease, so the connections if any are very tenuous and the scientific discoveries on this have yet to be made.”

(HT:ABC News)

Harold Brooks, a researcher for the NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory, is far less undecided. “we see no correlation between global or US national temperature and tornado occurrence,” Brooks said.

He is then asked why so many casualties have occurred from the 2010 tornado season in the US. He attributes this to population density, flimsier housing and plain rotten luck. Brooks explains below.

“Tornado deaths require two things. You have to have the tornado and you have to have people in the right or the wrong place,” Brooks said. “The biggest single demographic change that probably affects things is that the fraction of mobile homes in the United States has increased over the years,” he said.

(HT: The Vancouver Sun)

However, unlike many recent AGW skeptics, Brooks does not credit the Pacific Decadal Oscillation as a cause of 2010’s ferocious thunderstorms either. He doesn’t feel that recent years have shown any particular pattern. “2009 was a really low year for tornadoes. Some recent years have been big, some recent years have been small,” he said. (Vancouver Sun, ObCit).


Thus, 2010 has featured a number of violent and fatal tornadoes. Great amounts of property have been damaged. Public concern is at a higher level than normal over the frightening natural phenomena that cause tornadic activity in conjunction with thunderstorms. I like Al Roker, and generally feel he is one of the better and more competant weathermen out there. However, he let his emotions get the better of his scientific training on the Minneapolis Tornado. It would serve the causes of science and public safety far more if people held off in speculating as to whether the 2010 Tornado Season proves or disproves environmental scares until a lot more is known.


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