NOAA: U.S. Tornadoes lowest since 1954 – during the “hottest year ever”

Latest data from NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center indicate that as of today, the total count for 2016 of US tornadoes are fewest in a calendar year since record-keeping began in 1954. That’s a hard fact, that flies in the face of claims of extreme weather being enhanced by warmer temperatures,  as many have tried to claim. This graph from NOAA SPC shows that with 830 tornadoes so far this year (in black), it has crossed the minimum line (in magenta) showing 879 as the previous lowest number recorded on this date.



Additionally, the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Nashville said today:

There have only been 5 tornadoes in Tennessee this year. It’s been the quietest year for tornadoes in the state since 1987.

Meanwhile the U.N.’s weather bureau is warning of this:

It is very likely that 2016 will be the hottest year on record, with global temperatures even higher than the record-breaking temperatures in 2015. Preliminary data shows that 2016’s global temperatures are approximately 1.2° Celsius above pre-industrial levels, according to an assessment by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

So, in the “hottest year ever” there’s actually the lowest number of tornadoes, ever.

I’d like to take these numbers and shove them in the face paid political hack, Brad Johnson formerly of Climate Progress, who once claimed this stupid ugliness:

ThinkProgress discussion of the tornado outbreak

ThinkProgress discussion of the tornado outbreak in 2011

Then there was John Kerry in 2008:

Kerry Blames Tornado Outbreak on Global Warming

But of course, facts mean nothing to paid political shills like Johnson and Kerry.

Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.- John Adams


88 thoughts on “NOAA: U.S. Tornadoes lowest since 1954 – during the “hottest year ever”

  1. It may be an interesting to speculate on the excuse for the facts not fitting the alarmism.

    My money is on something like they are down in numbers at the moment but just wait until they come back. They’ll be the worse than we thought.

      • While I am by no means buy into any off the CAGW BSt, I think it is quite clear that cold does in fact make tornadoes or more correctly stated confluences of warm and cold air make tornadoes, so with out cold air masses you don’t have tornadoes.

      • Acknowledging “gradient” is by no means a concession to alarmists. In fact it reveals their ignorance of the subject.

    • The title of the graph leaves me confused. How exactly are the numbers of tornados adjusted for inflation? Are we now to assume that “economic warming” will increase tornados. If the recession deepens does the number increase or decrease?
      Perhaps an economic recovery will bring back the missing tornados with the vengeance of a scorned woman?

      • Never mind I answered my own question. it appears as though the numbers are “adjusted” to account for 15% over reporting. How was the 15% number arrived at?

      • Note the (*) asterisk. Preliminary count multiplied by 0.85 to reduce over-count due to local reporting overlapping reports.

      • Tornadoes that are not actually witnessed are assumed to have occurred based on a number of observations, including wind speed. It is well known that this causes more tornadoes to be claimed than actually occurred, which is called “tornado count inflation”. So they adjust by assuming that 15% are over counts. Agree or disagree with the methodology, at least they are consistent and use the same adjustment for all years.

  2. Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.- John Adams

    Unfortunately John Adams was not a climate scientist, otherwise he would not have made such a naive statement.

    • And just what was it about the quoted John Adams statement that you thought was naïve?

      I am curious as to your reason for claiming it was “a naive statement”.

      • Sam! Do people really have to add (SARC) when jerking your chain? Stick to the good stuff, like your 4:52AM posting which was most worthy. If you want to show off your naïveté, doing it privately is a better choice!

      • Sam! Do people really have to add (SARC) when jerking your chain?

        tomwys, ….. just how was it possible for Greg to be “jerking my chain” when I had not previously posted to the lead comment?

        And I’m getting quite old and near sighted, but even iffen I squint I still do not see the “sarcasm” you claim is the basis of Greg’s post, to wit:

        sar·casm (noun) – the use of irony to mock or convey contempt.

        Quoting Greg:

        Unfortunately John Adams was not a climate scientist, otherwise he would not have made such a naive statement.

        tomwys, ….. maybe you are confusing Greg’s use of a “double negative” as being simple “sarcasm”.

        Double negatives are two negative words used in the same sentence. Using two negatives turns the thought or sentence into a positive one. Double negatives are not encouraged in English because they are poor grammar and they can be confusing; but, they are sometimes used in song lyrics and informal speech.

    • Greg,
      So… you’re against facts? Interesting.
      True, John Adams was not a “climate scientist.” He actually had a brain and character to go with it.

    • Yes Greg, you do have to put a /sarc tag on every time. Unfortunately straight text is not a good medium for conveying such subtlety.

  3. The missing tornadoes are hiding in the deep ocean. They’re preparing to come back with a vengeance, along with the heat that’s hiding down there. Then it will be really really worse than we thought.

  4. The hottest year ever also happens to be a very strong NATURAL el nino year. Ken Stewart does a monthly UAH V 6 update for the globe and all the regions. The global warming trend since 1998 is just 0.23 c per century, way below the 1.2 c per century trend since DEC 1978.
    And the south polar region has been cooling since 1978 and the 1998 to present cooling trend is faster than the longer period. Here’s the link.

    • And whenever you have a “hottest near-surface air temperatures year ever” …… you will also have the “hottest ocean water surface temperature year ever”.

      And whenever the ocean water surface temperatures are increasing ……. the ocean surface water is outgassing CO2 into the atmosphere.

      And whenever the ocean water surface temperatures are decreasing ……. the ocean surface water is ingassing CO2 from the atmosphere.

      Maximum to Minimum yearly CO2 ppm data – 1979 thru 2016
      Source: NOAA’s Mauna Loa Monthly Mean CO2 data base

      CO2 “Max” ppm Fiscal Year – mid-May to mid-May

      year mth “Max” _ yearly increase ____ mth “Min” ppm
      1979 _ 6 _ 339.20 …. + …… __________ 9 … 333.93
      1980 _ 5 _ 341.47 …. +2.27 _________ 10 … 336.05
      1981 _ 5 _ 343.01 …. +1.54 __________ 9 … 336.92
      1982 _ 5 _ 344.67 …. +1.66 __________ 9 … 338.32
      1983 _ 5 _ 345.96 …. +1.29 __________ 9 … 340.17
      1984 _ 5 _ 347.55 …. +1.59 __________ 9 … 341.35
      1985 _ 5 _ 348.92 …. +1.37 _________ 10 … 343.08
      1986 _ 5 _ 350.53 …. +1.61 _________ 10 … 344.47
      1987 _ 5 _ 352.14 …. +1.61 __________ 9 … 346.52
      1988 _ 5 _ 354.18 …. +2.04 __________ 9 … 349.03
      1989 _ 5 _ 355.89 …. +1.71 __________ 9 … 350.02
      1990 _ 5 _ 357.29 …. +1.40 __________ 9 … 351.28
      1991 _ 5 _ 359.09 …. +1.80 __________ 9 … 352.30
      1992 _ 5 _ 359.55 …. +0.46 Pinatubo _ 9 … 352.93
      1993 _ 5 _ 360.19 …. +0.64 __________ 9 … 354.10
      1994 _ 5 _ 361.68 …. +1.49 __________ 9 … 355.63
      1995 _ 5 _ 363.77 …. +2.09 _________ 10 … 357.97
      1996 _ 5 _ 365.16 …. +1.39 _________ 10 … 359.54
      1997 _ 5 _ 366.69 …. +1.53 __________ 9 … 360.31
      1998 _ 5 _ 369.49 …. +2.80 El Niño __ 9 … 364.01
      1999 _ 4 _ 370.96 …. +1.47 __________ 9 … 364.94
      2000 _ 4 _ 371.82 …. +0.86 __________ 9 … 366.91
      2001 _ 5 _ 373.82 …. +2.00 __________ 9 … 368.16
      2002 _ 5 _ 375.65 …. +1.83 _________ 10 … 370.51
      2003 _ 5 _ 378.50 …. +2.85 _________ 10 … 373.10
      2004 _ 5 _ 380.63 …. +2.13 __________ 9 … 374.11
      2005 _ 5 _ 382.47 …. +1.84 __________ 9 … 376.66
      2006 _ 5 _ 384.98 …. +2.51 __________ 9 … 378.92
      2007 _ 5 _ 386.58 …. +1.60 __________ 9 … 380.90
      2008 _ 5 _ 388.50 …. +1.92 _________ 10 … 382.99
      2009 _ 5 _ 390.19 …. +1.65 _________ 10 … 384.39
      2010 _ 5 _ 393.04 …. +2.85 __________ 9 … 386.83
      2011 _ 5 _ 394.21 …. +1.17 _________ 10 … 388.96
      2012 _ 5 _ 396.78 …. +2.58 _________ 10 … 391.01
      2013 _ 5 _ 399.76 …. +2.98 __________ 9 … 393.51
      2014 _ 5 _ 401.88 …. +2.12 __________ 9 … 395.35
      2015 _ 5 _ 403.94 …. +2.06 __________ 9 … 397.63
      2016 _ 5 _ 407.70 …. +3.76 El Niño __ 9 …

      The “Max” CO2 occurred at mid-May (5) of each year … with the exception of three (3) outliers, one (1) being in June 79’ and the other two (2) being in April 99’ and 2000.

      The “Min” CO2 occurred at the very end of September (9) of each year … with the exception of eleven (11) outliers, all of which occurred within the first 7 days of October.

      • YUP, ….. like the ole farmers say, …… when the CO2 is “up”, and the humidity is “up”, and the temperature is “up”, ….. you can almost hear the fieldcorn growing at nighttime.

  5. There are a few good rural met stations that have been in the same place for a long time. If you take the data from those stations, there has been little or no warming in the continental USA. link link

    It could be that tornado frequency has nothing to do with temperature. ie. we probably can’t say that warmer temperatures cause fewer tornadoes (since it hasn’t warmed much). It is possible however that warmer adjusted temperatures correlate with a decrease in tornado frequency. ;-)

      • That’s not really an update. It is the product of bad stations and adjustments.

        I was pretty clear about the need to consider only good quality stations. Are you familiar with the surface stations project? A strong majority of stations have errors greater than 2 deg. C. Six percent of stations have errors greater than 5 deg C. Remove the garbage stations and you get little or no warming.

      • OK Tony, just for fun let’s assume the map is accurate. What dangerous effects is it having? Please explain rigorously with falsifiable assertions, and show us your math and physics.

      • I wasn’t aware of that site Bob. Is there a map or graphical representation of the ‘good’ stations?

      • tony mcleod November 17, 2016 at 12:53 am

        … Is there a map or graphical representation of the ‘good’ stations?

        There’s a map a little down the main page showing the ratings of all the stations.

      • Tony,
        Since you’re so good with the links, help me out here. All that data homogenizing and averaging requires a lot of computer software. What I’d like to see is the documented (best practices) process that they used to design, develop, and test it. I’d also like to see all the software peer reviews and verification reports as well. Unit tests and coverage reports would be a bonus.

        Why am I looking for these items? Good question. Because designing and developing computer software is prone to error, just like any other human activity. As a professional software engineer I know that even seemingly small errors in a program can completely invalidate the output. That’s why we have developed these software development specific processes. So, if NASA (or any other climate science groups) have not adopted and followed these processes, I have to assume that the output of their software is about as useful as an uncalibrated thermometer.

        The implications for not being able to find these items is obvious.

      • Fair points you make Paul. You’ve probably forgotten more about software engineering than I know, so you could probably just tell me the answers to your pertinent questions. Be quicker.
        I posted the map because when I went to the links I found they were four and six years old.
        I don’t doubt the map has some inaccuracies, is there a more accurate version?

  6. If I understand the mechanics of thunderstorms and tornadoes, much of the intensity depends on temperature differences. So, as the arctic regions are warming rather more than lower latitudes, there is less temperature difference to drive tornadoes. So, a lower number and intensity of tornadoes is consistent with global warming. BUT IT IS NOT SCARY! So the advocates misstate something that is support for their main claim. Typical.

      • Is there in fact, a dead canary somewhere? There’s also nothing scary about living Nashville-ites or Topekans (I arbitrarily choose two cities where tornadoes might cause havoc), unless of course you’re one of those radical Malthusians who hates living humans and wants to reduce our numbers. Are you one of those Malthusians, Tony?

      • A dead canary is not scary unless you happen to be down a coal mine. One degree higher temps at my place in the sub-tropics is a mere inconvenience and in Calgary I’m sure it would be welcome.

        Right now there are extraordinary warm anomalies – Null School was showing +0.1 at the pole a couple of days ago, so yes the Arctic is warming faster than anywhere and the anomalies are 6, 8 12 degrees C above the long term average.

        The thin arctic ice is the canary. It makes for a wonderful indicator because it is so sensitive to temperature change – any global-wide changes will first become apparent there.

        If everywhere else continues to warm and ends up matching the Arctic then that would be fairly catastrophic. Dead, not pining for the fiords.

      • I’m trying to figure out what is scary about finding buildings and forests under the margins of retreating glaciers. If there is warming, it would mean that we are heading for an enhanced environment with more room for homo sapiens to thrive and grow.


      • where the global warming trumpeteers are VERY silent about is the -40 degrees anomalies in Russia…

        138 places in russia that registred cold records at some places smashing the old record by a whopping 10 to 20 degrees F

        actually it’s that russian high cold that moves poleward, but now that cold airmass is blocked and putting russia in a freezer…

        and that area of cold is ways huger and has a lower anomaly, dwarfing the arctic heat.

        by the way: the arctic is now dark, so all that heat is now really radiating out into space… that’s indeed a worry

  7. This has puzzled me for a while but I see its the usual deception at work. A”warmer world” would by basic simple physics have less severe storms, contrary to their claims.

    But if the world has not warmed, how come the decline in severe weather is occurring.

    I think the answer is that the “average temperature has not gone up but the area where temperature gradients are critical in severe weather development has warmed up. Thus other areas have cooled.

  8. Tut, tut. You guys just don’t understand how climate change works. This is MORE dangerous than a regular tornado season because soon people won’t know what a tornado looks like and will react in the wrong way to future events. Like wearing a stout hat instead of seeking a storm shelter. What people need is just the right number of tornados. Not too many, not too few – as delivered by natural climate. ;-)

    Something very similar to this argument has been used about hurricanes.

  9. Facts are chiels that winna ding.
    Translation:- Facts are things that cannot be argued with.
    The problem is that the general populace have had their heads filled with non-facts and until MSM is prepared to publish the real facts nothing much will change.
    I bet this data from NOAA isn’t commented on in any MSM outlet.

  10. Excellent. If global warming is actually happening, the science says fewer tornadoes result. In contrast The Science, says there will be more, and these will be more catastrophic. A great illustration of how The Science is contradicted by the science.

      • We agree that the alarmist Guardian is clutching at straws, tony. Thanks for standing with us on that one!

      • For all the lying articles in the Guardian, daily, systematically misreporting climate, I never seem to see any catastrophist climate scientist refutations. I conclude that catastrophists agree with the lying Guardian!

    • So, by “The Science”, you mean Climate Science™ and by the science you mean like traditional meteorology as has been taught for decades, right? Because I am pretty sure I was taught that extreme storms were caused by a difference in air mass temperatures rather than an absolute heat content.

  11. Crazy thought but, when tornado, hurricane, South Pole ice, tropic atmospheric warm spot, CO2-temp disconnect, + on and on, predictions all don’t pan out as they are supposed to… is there any chance that this is evidence invalidating the legitimacy of ground temperature station data?

  12. I have today emailed this story to the BBC Newsroom. Others might wish to do the same, in which case their email address is It would be good to get the story sent direct to all the main news outlets, although we might guess what result will be.

  13. The Climate Council of Australia (despite its grandiose title) is the remnants of a public sector taxpayer funded qango sacked by Tony Abbott
    It has recently issued a warning of more thunderstorms and lightning stikes unless we lower CO2 in the atmosphere
    Needless to say it was given prominence in ABC ( Taxpayer funded public broadcaster)
    News bulletins
    Also needless to say this report on the low frequency of US tornadoes wont make their bulletins

  14. Warm the higher latitudes most……decrease the meridional temperature gradient….decrease some measures of extreme weather like this.

    When the atmosphere does not have to work as hard to equalize/redistribute the heat imbalance……there will be less extreme weather for some measures, like tornadoes.

    Warmer oceans and atmosphere do contribute to higher amounts of precipital water and higher rain amounts in some high end events but tornadoes should be less when heat is more uniformly distributed.

  15. This should be shouted out as an absolute alarmist lie-killer. Do it in a specific study. Hottest year ever but lowest tornadoes since records began in 1954 kills stone dead ANY correlation between tornadoes and temperatures. Such a provably-false claim CANNOT continue to be perpetuated.

  16. Even the biggest alarmists, they should agree with the arrangements of science.


    Tornadoes –
    “It could be global warming, but our usual tools, the observational record and computer models, are not up to the task of answering this question yet.”

    Cyclones –
    “First, it is possible that 21st century changes in tropical cyclones will be less potentially damaging than the scenarios outlined in the projections …”

    Tropical storm –
    “… there is a small nominally positive upward trend in tropical storm occurrence from 1878-2006. But statistical tests reveal that this trend is so small, relative to the variability in the series, that it is not significantly distinguishable from zero …”

    Sensitivity or sea level
    “…sensitivity or sea level rise could be at the low end, or even lower than, the range shown in IPCC AR4.”

    “… it is more plausible that [present] the increase arises primarily from improvements in the quantity and quality of observations, along with enhanced interpretation techniques. […]”

  17. I like the “Inflation Adjusted” part. Pity they don’t do that with surface temperatures too. The UN’s “weather bureau”, that’s a laff. More like politburo.

  18. You don’t understand. You can’t consider the raw number of tornadoes. That would be too easy. The newly developed tornadic inversion stupidity factor (TISF) doubles due to the mint-julep algorithm developed by Kevin Trenberth.

    This model proves that tornadoes are worse under a warming conditions in ways that simple observations can’t detect.

  19. I have to say, that chart is one of the most bizarre charts that I have ever seen. Basically, it is saying at the outset that we don’t really know how many tornadoes there are, but these are a few educated guesses.

    The asterisk note at the bottom says that adds up local count of tornadoes and multiply by 0.85 to “remove overcount”.

    Even the NOAA page this comes from admits that most of the change in the tornado counts comes from better observations rather than any environmental changes. “Removal of this upward trend is desirable because the increase in tornado reports over the last 54 years is almost entirely due to secular trends such as population increase, increased tornado awareness, and more robust and advanced reporting networks.”

  20. May I give the basic meteorology governing the formation of tornadoes.
    No, it is not simply surface temperatures.
    It is the lapse rate.
    In the case of the US there are two main ingredients.
    Heat/moisture from the Gulf below.
    Cold/dry air from the Arctic above.
    Under AGW the Arctic is warming greater than anywhere else on the planet, so the cold/dry above will lessen.
    However the warm/humid below will increase.
    Depends on which one wins.
    On top of that we have year to year weather.
    The influence of ENSO FI.

    • Don’t you know that prior to a couple of years, tornadoes were no more than strong breezes that nobody ever worried about.
      Dorothy was an outlier.

  21. It won’t be long before fewer and weaker tornadoes are “consistent with global warming/climate change theory and models.”

  22. Reblogged this on The GOLDEN RULE and commented:
    Reblogging this as the alarmist claims that are readily believed by the public, and by the vested interest supporters, are clearly suspect.
    Claims of rising sea levels, weather extremes, coral reef deterioration, hottest “….” etc., are all distorted and /or inaccurate.

      • My guess is that Anthony would agree that:

        -the earth has warmed substantially in the last few decades,
        -sea levels have indeed risen and are rising at an accelerating rate,
        -humans are contributing to that warming, but that
        -there is doubt as to what degree it is caused by human activity versus natural variability.

        But that the jury is out as to whether that is a good or a bad thing, but on balance, little or no change is likely to be the best condition for humans to continue to proper.

        As I say, that is my guess.

      • maybe a very inaccurate distortion is how silent they are about this event in russia

        i gladly quote the intro:

        Meteorologists are having a difficult time recalling a more amazing contrast.

        While the North Pole flirts with melting temperatures, Siberia is shivering in off-the-charts cold.

        The Weather Channel described the stunning side-by-side extremes as “one of the most bizarre juxtapositions seen”.

        The Siberian cold, up to 60 degrees below normal, has persisted for weeks. On Nov. 15, it manifested itself in more than 12 cities registering temperatures to minus-40 degrees or colder, the Weather Channel said.

        The area they speak about dwarfs the arctic and the cold anomaly is 2 times colder (-60degress) compared to the +32 degrees anomaly of the north pole.

        note: al the degrees are degees F

        an area that’s double the size of the arctic, with a double negative anomaly then the arctic or in human terms: a massive record smashing cold doesn’t hit even the news….

        while a flirt with freezing point on the arctic hits almost the front page everywhere… that sounds like inaccurate distortion to me…

        also the warmer the pole the less contrast there is. even more moist air won’t win from a lower temperature gradient. The temperature gradient is what is called the lifted index (LI). Then you need colder upper dry air and moister lower warm air for higer CAPE. the warmer and lesser dry the dry air, the better the air masses do mix and the higher the dewpoint is and the less CAPE and LI you got.

        so record warm arctic with low ice cover will result in less violent thunderstorms as CAPE is related to moisture gradient of both airmasses and LI is related to temperature

        this is very simplfied it’s more complex as it’s also buoyancy, windshear, dryness and dewpoint related and i left out those parts in both.

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