One More Time: Violent Tornadoes are LESS Frequent With Earth's Warmer Climate

Axios, the Washington Post, and others are claiming global warming has made tornadoes worse. The opposite is true. Let's break it down.

Below is a graph of official NOAA figures of violent (F-4/F-5 intensity) tornadoes. 

The numbers are clearly down. 

There might be some doubt about the lessening trend but for the fact the tornado damage -- normalized for inflation, etc. -- are also down. The paper-reviewed figures are below, with more from Dr. Roger Pielke, Jr., here

Why might violent tornadoes be less frequent as a result of global warming? Here's why:
  • Tornadoes are not a result of warmer air by itself. It is the contrast in air temperature that helps trigger the storms. 
  • Classic global warming theory forecasted that the poles would warm more quickly than the tropics.
  • That theory has proven correct: the poles have warmed much more quickly
  • With less temperature gradient between the poles and tropics the jet stream weakens. With a weaker jet stream, there are fewer opportunities for violent tornadoes to form. The science on this is solid.
By far, the most violent tornado in U.S. history was in 1925, well before global warming began. 
This monster was more than a mile wide, was on the ground 200+ miles, was F-5 intensity, and killed nearly 700 people. It is known as the "Tri-State Tornado." Not only did it occur before global warming, it did not occur in the traditional "Tornado Alley."

There has been a lot of nonsense written about global warming causing tornado alley to move east. The fact is that, in the 1970's, Dr. Ted Fujita documented that tornado alley moves. That topic is covered here. Tornado Alley moves regardless of the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. 

Global warming is a serious problem which deserves serious science and serious solutions. These 'forecasts' that tornadoes have risen are based on computer models that are not actually modeling tornadoes. 

This is an active tornado season and indications are that may continue. It is important to focus on tornado warnings and tornado safety measures... not public relations schemes intended to generate more global warming panic and money for research. 


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