Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Man-made climate change is going critical fast, but it won't cause more tornadoes

Dahr Jamail has a stinging report on climate change on TruthOut (on Facebook), here
The article hits the issue of drought and fire and loss of animal and plant species especially hard. 
Does climate change increase the size and damage of severe weather events?  USA Today has a big story on that now.
It’s interesting to note, however, the storms in the mid-Atlantic area.  There were F4 tornadoes in Maryland or Viginia in 1998, 2001 and 2002 (2001 included the College Park tornado, an F3 which did severe damage at the University of Maryland and up to Laurel, and it was in the fall).  I don’t think there have been any since (north of the NC line).  Very small tornadoes are commonly reported, even last week, but this may be the result of better reporting technology.
The size of the tornadoes in Oklahoma, in Joplin and in Tuscaloosa seem shocking but tornadoes like these have always occurred in the nation’s midsection.  Curiously, when I was at the University of Kansas in the 60s, severe thunderstorms were common, but we didn’t have any close calls with tornadoes and rarely had power outages. There were no trees near power lines.  Similarly, when I lived in Dallas in the 1980s, I had only one close call with a tornado where I lived (and that was in December). 
The relationship between climate change and tornadoes is complex, as indicated in this National Geographic article from 2013   You need some cold air from the north to get tornadoes, and the air up north is now often warmer than it used to be.   

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