Claim of ‘Increasing tornado outbreak clusters’ just doesn’t hold up

From the — is climate change responsible? department, in a word, no. Here’s why – it’s a reporting bias as I document here. More people, more cameras, more eyes on the event to make data for storm reports. And, until around 1975, multiple vortice tornado outbreaks weren’t really part of the scientific literature, because they hadn’t been well documented, nor was there a physical mechanism proposed for them until this study  and this one recreating the phenomenon in the lab (which I helped with from the technology side) came about.

The NOAA Storm Prediction Center says this about multiple vortice tornadoes:

Multiple Vortex Tornado

altus-multiple-tornadoes

Many tornadoes contain smaller, rapidly spinning whirls known as subvortices, or suction vortices; but they are not always as clearly visible as in this big tornado near Altus OK, on 11 May 1982. Suction vortices can add over 100 mph to the ground-relative wind in a tornado circulation. As a result, they are responsible for most (if not all) cases where narrow arcs of extreme destruction lie right next to weak damage within tornado paths. Subvortices usually occur in groups of 2 to 5 at once (the 6 or 7 evident here being uncommon), and usually last less than a minute each. Tornado scientists now believe that most reports of several tornadoes at once, from news accounts and early 20th century tornado tales, actually were multivortex tornadoes. However, on rare occasions, separate tornadoes can form close to one another as satellite tornadoes.

Since they note that ” they are not always as clearly visible” it stands to reason that with multitudes of storm chasers being led to tornadoes by Doppler radar technology ahead of time, and being scattered around the tornado looking at it from multiple angles, that more clusters of tornadoes would be reported than ever before tornado chasing became an adventure sport and a tour guide business. There’s even a petition for banning it.

The petitioner says:

When I went chasing in May 2010 to see tornado alley myself I was surprised at one thing.  The storm chasing wasn’t that dangerous due to the storms … it was dangerous because of the amount of people out there on the roads surrounding the storms.

It seems obvious to me that more ground observations are the cause of more observed tornadoes. As for the increased meteorological propensity they cite, I think they really don’t make their case with statistical modeling as the indicator:

While no significant trends have been found in either the annual number of reliably reported tornadoes or of outbreaks, recent studies indicate increased variability in large normalized economic and insured losses from U.S. thunderstorms, increases in the annual number of days on which many tornadoes occur, and increases in the annual mean and variance of the number of tornadoes per outbreak. In the current study, the researchers used extreme value analysis and found that the frequency of U.S. outbreaks with many tornadoes is increasing, and is increasing faster for more extreme outbreaks. They modeled this behavior using extreme value distributions with parameters that vary to match the trends in the data.

As Earnest Rutherford once said:

“If your experiment needs statistics, you ought to have done a better experiment.”


Increasing tornado outbreaks — is climate change responsible?

Study raises new questions about what climate change will do to tornado outbreaks and what is responsible for recent trends

COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING AND APPLIED SCIENCE

New York, NY–December 1, 2016–Tornadoes and severe thunderstorms kill people and damage property every year. Estimated U.S. insured losses due to severe thunderstorms in the first half of 2016 were $8.5 billion. The largest U.S. impacts of tornadoes result from tornado outbreaks, sequences of tornadoes that occur in close succession. Last spring a research team led by Michael Tippett, associate professor of applied physics and applied mathematics at Columbia Engineering, published a study showing that the average number of tornadoes during outbreaks–large-scale weather events that can last one to three days and span huge regions–has risen since 1954. But they were not sure why.

In a new paper, published December 1 in Science via First Release, the researchers looked at increasing trends in the severity of tornado outbreaks where they measured severity by the number of tornadoes per outbreak. They found that these trends are increasing fastest for the most extreme outbreaks. While they saw changes in meteorological quantities that are consistent with these upward trends, the meteorological trends were not the ones expected under climate change.

“This study raises new questions about what climate change will do to severe thunderstorms and what is responsible for recent trends,” says Tippett, who is also a member of the Data Science Institute and the Columbia Initiative on Extreme Weather and Climate. “The fact that we don’t see the presently understood meteorological signature of global warming in changing outbreak statistics leaves two possibilities: either the recent increases are not due to a warming climate, or a warming climate has implications for tornado activity that we don’t understand. This is an unexpected finding.”

The researchers used two NOAA datasets, one containing tornado reports and the other observation-based estimates of meteorological quantities associated with tornado outbreaks. “Other researchers have focused on tornado reports without considering the meteorological environments,” notes Chiara Lepore, associate research scientist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, who is a coauthor of the paper. “The meteorological data provide an independent check on the tornado reports and let us check for what would be expected under climate change.”

U.S. tornado activity in recent decades has been drawing the attention of scientists. While no significant trends have been found in either the annual number of reliably reported tornadoes or of outbreaks, recent studies indicate increased variability in large normalized economic and insured losses from U.S. thunderstorms, increases in the annual number of days on which many tornadoes occur, and increases in the annual mean and variance of the number of tornadoes per outbreak. In the current study, the researchers used extreme value analysis and found that the frequency of U.S. outbreaks with many tornadoes is increasing, and is increasing faster for more extreme outbreaks. They modeled this behavior using extreme value distributions with parameters that vary to match the trends in the data.

Extreme meteorological environments associated with severe thunderstorms showed consistent upward trends, but the trends did not resemble those currently expected to result from global warming. They looked at two factors: convective available potential energy (CAPE) and a measure of vertical wind shear, storm relative helicity. Modeling studies have projected that CAPE will increase in a warmer climate leading to more frequent environments favorable to severe thunderstorms in the U.S. However, they found that the meteorological trends were not due to increasing CAPE but instead due to trends in storm relative helicity, which has not been projected to increase under climate change.

“Tornadoes blow people away, and their houses and cars and a lot else,” says Joel Cohen, coauthor of the paper and director of the Laboratory of Populations, which is based jointly at Rockefeller University and Columbia’s Earth Institute. “We’ve used new statistical tools that haven’t been used before to put tornadoes under the microscope. The findings are surprising. We found that, over the last half century or so, the more extreme the tornado outbreaks, the faster the numbers of such extreme outbreaks have been increasing. What’s pushing this rise in extreme outbreaks is far from obvious in the present state of climate science. Viewing the thousands of tornadoes that have been reliably recorded in the U.S. over the past half century or so as a population has permitted us to ask new questions and discover new, important changes in outbreaks of these tornadoes.”

Adds Harold Brooks, senior scientist at NOAA’s National Severe Storms Laboratory, who was not involved with this project, “The study is important because it addresses one of the hypotheses that has been raised to explain the observed change in number of tornadoes in outbreaks. Changes in CAPE can’t explain the change. It seems that changes in shear are more important, but we don’t yet understand why those have happened and if they’re related to global warming.”

Better understanding of how climate affects tornado activity can help to predict tornado activity in the short-term, a month, or even a year in advance, and would be a major aid to insurance and reinsurance companies in assessing the risks posed by outbreaks. “An assessment of changing tornado outbreak size is highly relevant to the insurance industry,” notes Kelly Hererid, AVP, Senior Research Scientist, Chubb Tempest Re R&D. “Common insurance risk management tools like reinsurance and catastrophe bonds are often structured around storm outbreaks rather than individual tornadoes, so an increasing concentration of tornadoes into larger outbreaks provides a mechanism to change loss potential without necessarily altering the underlying tornado count. This approach provides an expanded view of disaster potential beyond simple changes in event frequency.”

Tippett notes that more studies are needed to attribute the observed changes to either global warming or another component of climate variability. The research group plans next to study other aspects of severe thunderstorms such as hail, which causes less intense damage but is important for business (especially insurance and reinsurance) because it affects larger areas and is responsible for substantial losses every year.

###

The study was partially funded by Columbia University Research Initiatives for Science and Engineering (RISE) award; the Office of Naval Research; NOAA’s Climate Program Office’s Modeling, Analysis, Predictions and Projections; Willis Research Network; and the National Science Foundation.

LINKS

PAPER: http://science.sciencemag.org/lookup/doi/10.1126/science.aah7393

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93 thoughts on “Claim of ‘Increasing tornado outbreak clusters’ just doesn’t hold up

  1. “If your experiment needs statistics, you ought to have done a better experiment.”

    I like that. Rutherford was … well, Rutherford just was.

    • Well He didn’t actually use those words. specifically he didn’t say ” if your experiment needs statistics …” More like ” if you have to use statistics “…

      He also said something along the line of: “We haven’t the money so we have to be smarter. ” Or something close to that.

      I actually have a photograph of a wall full of famous New Zealander sayings, from a nice building in Auckland, just down the hill from The University, going down towards Hobson Street as I recall. I walked inside the front lobby where it said “NO Photography” and I just started snapping everything in sight.

      An official looking personage came down the stairs on his way to lunch and caught me in the act.

      So he showed me how to lock up the building behind me when I left, and went off to lunch so I could go on with my picture taking.

      They truly are friendly folks down there.

      G

    • Rutherford also said: “The energy produced by the breaking down of the atom is a very poor kind of thing. Anyone who expects a source of power from transformation of these atoms is talking moonshine.”
      Address at Leicester(11 Sep 1933). Cited as New York Herald Tribune (12 Sep 1933), in Laurie M. Brown.

      Citing authorities from a century in the past can be tricky. Rutherford was lucky enough to perform a revolutionary, definitive experiment that didn’t require statistical analysis. As Feynman noted, those repeating the Millikan oil-drop experiment ran into problems with data analysis. The problem is not use of statistical analysis, but misuse and misunderstanding of statistical analysis by authors and readers.

      In the case of climate science, changes are typically slow – on the order of 1% per decade and high-frequency unforced variability is larger than the long-term change. Statistics is unavoidable.

  2. From the – is man solely responsible for climate change? department. In a word, no.

    From the – can man control climate? department. in a word, no.

    Ergo, from the can man control increasing tornado outbreak clusters. in a word no.

    from the can man mitigate the damage created by tornado outbreak clusters, Ask the engineers.

    • “from the can man mitigate the damage created by tornado outbreak clusters, Ask the engineers.”

      Then ask the bean counters.

    • From the – is it highly likely man is changing the climate? department. In a word, yes.
      And from the – lets ignore all those elephants in the room and clutch at straws department.

      • Have humans changed the climate of Las Vegas? Yes.

        Have we changed the global climate? Not so much. As in, if so, from negligibly to too little to measure.

      • Notice how Tony moved the goal posts from “is man solely responsible for climate change” to “is it highly likely man is changing the climate”? Of course man has an affect on the climate, that’s never been in question. How much is the question, and that still has not been answered to this skeptic’s satisfaction.

      • Notice how Tony moved the goal posts from “is man solely responsible for climate change” to “is it highly likely man is changing the climate”? Of course man has an affect on the climate, that’s never been in question. How much is the question, and that still has not been answered to this skeptic’s satisfaction.

        I “moved the goal posts” because “solely responsible” is purely a straw man argument. No climate scientist or even climate pundit has ever claimed such a thing.

        “How much is the question”. That is where the science is obviously not settled and hell may never be.

      • Land use changes and ground water extraction (limiting seasonal surface flows) most certainly affect regional climates. But Antarctic climate is not changing (if anything, the interior is getting colder in recent decades). And the Arctic was likely as warm in 1920-30’s as it is today. So mankind’s land-use changes and natural variability affect climate, but mostly regional.

        But The attribution of anthropogenic CO2 to changing global climate??… That’s the multi-Trillion dollar question that Soros, Steyer, Musk, and other hustlers want to get a piece of, and theyre paying-off a lot of people along the way to get the answer they want.

      • Seems Tony’s the man responsible for climate change in his lounge. Where’d you get the elephant dude?

      • “I “moved the goal posts” because “solely responsible” is purely a straw man argument. No climate scientist or even climate pundit has ever claimed such a thing.”

        Dana Nuccitelli is here to refute your claim:

        https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2016/apr/19/study-humans-have-caused-all-the-global-warming-since-1950

        Yes, those 10 peer-reviewed studies all show man responsible for 100% or more of global warming.

    • Claude Denkamonte Sometimes we have to put the bits together . “The global atmospheric electrical circuit is the continuous movement of electric current between the ionosphere and the earth’s surface. This flow is powered by thunderstorms, which cause a build-up of positive charge in the ionosphere. In fair weather this positive charge slowly flows back to the surface. ” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_atmospheric_electrical_circuit

      “With so much anecdotal evidence on the side of an electrical interpretation, it seems like scientists should jump at the opportunity to study these phenomena from an electrical perspective. However, electrical studies of tornadoes seems to be spotty in the literature at best. Perhaps that will change soon, considering a recent “revelation” released via an article in New Scientist magazine. It seems that some scientists are now actively taking the electrical study of tornadoes seriously and believe that it may just revolutionize the study and prediction of the same. Though they didn’t explicitly say it in so many words. ”
      https://collegetimes.co/on-the-electromagnetic-basis-of-tornadoes/

  3. You know, what gets my goat is when Gizmodo or that bunch breathlessly report on a story like this without even an ounce of skepticism.

    Just reword the press release.

    Confirmation bias.

    • Well, rewriting press releases (usually by an unpaid intern) is what too much “journalism” is nowadays.

      Too many “news” collectors (can’t really call them outlets) chasing too few real stories.

      • There are lots of “real stories,” but they require actually plying your trade and doing a little real work. That’s the “new journalism model” apparently.

    • Anthony your wrong about this one , isn’t Sharknado up to about no 5 now ?
      And they’re all manmade too !

  4. Since the number of tornados is not up, and the number of severe tornados is not up, the next warmunist thing is to invent a new kind of tornado and claim that is up. Except, as AW points out, it probably really isn’t either new or up. Ever more feeble and risable.

    • Well, we’ve gone from “global warming”, to “climate change” (when they couldn’t show much warming) to “climate disruption” (when they couldn’t who that the climate of the past was any worse).

      So, yes, in a world of “micro-aggressions” (i.e., minor disagreements in the old days), they’re just making things up as they go along.

  5. Extracted Discussion paragraph from Tippett, Lepore, Cohen, Science, 2016 (my bold):

    “Climate change has been proposed as contributing to changes in tornado statistics (5, 20). Climate model projections indicate that CAPE, one of the factors in our environmental proxy, will increase in a warmer climate leading to more frequent environments favorable to severe thunderstorms in the U.S. (14, 15). However, the proxy trends here are not due to increasing CAPE but instead due to trends in storm relative helicity, a quantity related to vertical wind shear which was previously identified as a factor in increased year-to-year variability of U.S. tornado numbers (11). Therefore we cannot at present associate the observed changes in our environmental proxy, and by extension the changes in tornado outbreak statistics, with previously identified features of a warmer climate. This conclusion is, of course, subject to revision by the discovery of other implications of a warmer climate for severe thunderstorm environments.”
    (Make sure you read those last 2 sentences carefully)

    Background Note from earlier in their manuscript (to give a def of CAPE, and what it says about attribution):

    “Here we define extreme environments as those with values of the outbreak proxy greater than 12, matching the extreme outbreak definition. The proxy is computed using reanalysis data (2) and depends on two factors, convective available potential energy (CAPE) and a measure of vertical wind shear, storm relative helicity (SRH). Modeling studies project that CAPE will increase in future warmer climates (14, 15), and Ref. 5 hypothesized that climate change and increases in CAPE could already be leading to more active areas of severe convection on days with tornadoes.”

    So CAPE doesn’t explain the increase, which does not support the “future warmer climates” hypothesis.
    Of course being stricken with a Need for Confirmation Bias and wanting to avoid cognitive disonance, they can’t let that go as a simple, honest scientific conclusion in this Age of Climatism.

    So they basically then say, let’s not rule out Climate Change because future data (“discovery of other implications”) might have to make them revise!!
    Well if that is not a pseudoscience waffling “Duh!!!” statement, then nothing is.

    Also of the subject of better technology as a cause of the increase, they simply do a neat, hand-waving exercise (again my bold):

    The outbreak trends in the tornado report database may reflect changes in reporting rather than real properties of tornadoes (8). The environments associated with tornadoes and severe thunderstorms provide valuable evidence that is independent of report data for assessing the variability of severe convective storms (4, 9–13). “

    They acknowledge technology as a potential cause, then just ignore it with some handwaving and make a 2 proxy model..

    Science Mag really went downhill after Chief Editor Marcia McNutt took over. Now she’s gone, but she must have left her Flying Monkeys behind to continue the psudoscience climatism.

    • Science magazine started going downhill when Donald Kennedy was Chief editor. He instigated the negative slope when he started censoring manuscripts contesting AGW. It’s only gotten worse. The magazine has never recovered.

      • And Kennedy got his job at Science after he had to leave the Presidency of Stanford for very shady practices, like panelling Stanford’s yacht with NSF overhead money.

  6. “the ones expected under climate change”….kinda says it all, doesn’t it? We MUST HAVE this turnout. Oh….we didn’t. Well, you expected it. How?

  7. The previous post detailed warmunist outrage over a “global cooling” tweet. The post itself got quite a bit of outrage.
    Unscientific, bad statistics, cherry picking, limited area, one data set they said. Junk, they said.
    Now we have a new study which is all of the above, I will bet the warmunists are fine with it because it links everything bad to man made global warming. (Not climate change, interesting)
    Peace and Harmony is restored in the universe.

    • Welll, This is the Age of Climatism. Also known as the Adjustocene.

      When climatists of this era use accepted science practices and find a negative result (phenomenon X not attributable to climate change), then being climatists, they resort to creative statistical methods.

      And when even that weird statistical scientism leads to equivocable results, they then throw in “cannot at present” and “discovery of other implications” waffling to salve any cognitive dissonance for not finding what they hoped to find.

  8. This lookd like a case of better tools producing bias. Video cameras were not common untill the 1980’s (film home movies had a very short recording time), and doppler radar did not become really common until this century. Now, there are a lot of people with cell phones with video capability carried nearly constantly, and most TV stations weather reporters have access to Doppler weather radar, so there is a lot more evidence on what may be no more thunderstorms producing tornadoes.

  9. “The fact that we don’t see the presently understood meteorological signature of global warming in changing outbreak statistics leaves two possibilities: either the recent increases are not due to a warming climate, or a warming climate has implications for tornado activity that we don’t understand. This is an unexpected finding.”

    Either:
    1 – the increases are not due to a warming climate.
    or:
    2 – we don’t know what’s going on

    We see this a lot … scientists actually trying to do real science and try to find the real truth. Whether or not they believe in AGW, they are reporting the facts as they find them. That happens more often than you would think. :-)

    • Notice the “warming climate” is taken as a given assumption. If the Climate Change AGW reallly isn’t happening (that is, that the climate is not warmer than say 1930-1940), then all this is is Cargo Cult Science, where the underlying (unquestioned) premise is false.

      • NOAA has that same attitude, and directly and unabashedly attributes it to increasing fossil fuel use, for which they are advocating extensive reductions.

      • “Notice the “warming climate” is taken as a given assumption.”

        That’s a requirement.

        All these CAGW projections are operating on a false assumption. They are speculating about a future that may never occur.

  10. <i<The study was partially funded by Columbia University Research Initiatives for Science and Engineering (RISE) award; the Office of Naval Research; NOAA’s Climate Program Office’s Modeling, Analysis, Predictions and Projections; Willis Research Network

    Willis does get about doesn’t he?

  11. In some ways, this study is an excellent example of research in this area. Consider this.
    Hypothesis: Man made Global Warming causes more, and more severe tornadoes.

    Well of course not, and the topic has been studied to death. This does not seem, at first, to be fertile ground for an alarmist paper. Now look how well they worked the problem. They took the tornado data, combined with “meteorological quantities”, focused on the most extreme outbreaks, used unorthodox statistics, and on and on.
    Guess what? They found the trend they were looking for, but they are not sure why.

    Research Checklist:
    Global Warming – Check
    Catastrophic, death, destruction, mayhem – Check
    Extreme – Check
    Getting worse – Check
    Don’t understand it, more study needed – Check
    More funding required – BINGO, The Money Shot.

    The paper achieved all of it’s goals. Well done.

    • We just need a fair and impartial review of the state of climate science and the level of actual threat to future generations from ‘business as usual”.

  12. The National Weather Service already has measures to account for the previous practice of under-count or missing tornadoes.

    Under this measure, 2016 is coming in at the lowest number of tornadoes on record, and 2015 was the previous record low year.

    http://www.spc.noaa.gov/wcm/adj.html

    • If colder than normal is what drives big spikes in a year’s tornado count, then the coming Spring 2017 tornado season (this Feb to June 2017) should be whopper of a tornado count year.

      • Which will happen after Donald Trump de-funds climate-change research. The alarmists, in a desperate bid to get their easy money back, will cry that tornado outbreak proves climate change is real and requires even more funding than before, never you mind that tornado outbreaks have happened many many times in the past. The complicit, clickbait-driven media will parrot narrative that ad nauseam. The law of averages will catch up to the US soon. Believe me, the alarmists are salivating at the prospect because they don’t want to lose their easy money.

    • Thanks Bill!
      One can only wonder how much otherwise useful government money gets spent to provide wrong answers to questions that already had answers.

  13. CAPE is not a measure of the meteorological conditions needed for tornadoes to occur. They also require wind shear and storm relative helicity. Tippet is not a meteorologist. I had the chance to speak to him when I worked at NOAA. His work is among the worst I’ve seen on climate change, and that’s saying a lot. He knows darn well that the apparent increase in tornado clusters is due to changes in reporting, namely that the number of tornadoes detected is much larger today because we use radar and trained spotters. Acknowledging that won’t get you published or funded and certainly won’t get you tenure. Give me a break.

    • President-Elect Trump (I love saying that just to give Libtards another meltdown) most definitely needs a WH Science Advisor like Dr Curry, Dr Lindzen, or Dr Spencer. Then also appropriate honest scientists to oversee NSF and DOE grants. Once the grant money flow to Alarmist Climatists is throttled, and restored to honest skeptic scientists, then you will see a change in behavior of University Research Vice-chancellors, Dept heads, and ultimately the jornals.

      It is about the govt money grant flow. It has been under the control of the Alarmists since 1993. Fix that, and a lot of what is wrong withacademic climate science can slowly heal. As for GISSand DOE climate modelling, simply shut it down entirely.

  14. I am not a scientist, but I do understand English pretty well. The opening sentence is drippingly laden with ambiguity and incitement…

    ‘In the United States, tornado outbreaks have the largest impacts on human lives and property.’

    This statement is given without reference for the ‘impacts’ to which ‘ The outbreaks ‘ are being compared. Is the allusion to damage, life disruption, death, financial loss…? And why use the word ‘impacts’ at all? It is a word alluding to a collision in the physical world, and yet the context calls for a metaphoric interpretation… Unless what they really mean is that ‘multiple tornadoes, taken together, throw the most sHit into the air that hits people and property.’

    Geez. I knew that already. What a let down.

    • Steve Fraser December 2, 2016 at 4:51 pm
      why do the impacts have to be negative?

      instead say
      ‘In the United States, sunshine outbreaks have the largest impacts on human lives and property.’

      michael

  15. A very comprehensive post on this subject. Very useful, as I am doing a similar study on the general topic of extreme weather. Thank you. Will cite.

  16. One aspect of the general flood of Climate fluff studies probably is shared throughout science. The population of scientists has grown by leaps and bounds. When I was a student in the 1950s, a mere 5% of the population went to university and that was spread out through all faculties. The hard sciences and math constituted a preciously small percentage of the student population which included everything from English majors, engineers, social scientists, aggies, medicine, home ec (girls needed an education, too!), languages, architecture, interior design, education, law…

    Perhaps, there were 30,000 students in Canada with fewer than 100 research PhDs in physics and math. That would make some 1000 in the US and, let’s say 3000 in the world., many of whom would be going into industry. Now the number of physicists who made significant discoveries and whom we know from our history books since Galileo numbers perhaps 200 (I think 100,but my knowledge in this area may be deficient.

    Lord Kelvin in the 1890s felt that all of nature’s main secrets had been revealed and that there remained only a few things, largely infill details. He was excoriated for this opinion when Einstein made his wonderful discoveries only a few years later. However K was essentially correct. Much of the first half of the twentieth century was spent identifying the remaining chemical elements and a scrabble board of fairly useless man made elements Science got a lift on the details with an explosion of engineering developments (no friends, there is no such thing as a rocket scientist) and space exploration essentially relied on Newtonian physics. Similarly, computer science is also an oxymoron, sorry. Even laundry soap was “engineered” in commercials so anxious were all to latch onto engineers’ glorious coattails in the space age. Scientists, too, who had been expanding rapidly into a half a century of scientific drought, put a brave face on it but eventually they began self immolation into pathetic stuff like ‘strings’ and dark matter.

    In the last decade, climate science gave them their fix along with cash that made pots of gold at the end of the rainbows real. Added to that Academy Awards, thousands of Nobel Prizes, jet setting with the Stars, etc., 97% of them couldn’t resist. Fraudulent science had already begun it’s crescendo in other fields because of a similar drought in demand and abandonment of scruples.

    How many climate scientists are there? Well, it is not known precisely, but John Cook of Oz used a selection of 100,000 papers published in a 10yr period up to 2012!!! How many real physics papers have been written since Galileo, I’d guess several hundred. If we had had a couple of Einstein’s engaged in the field, the job would be done except for a few details.

    I’m afraid climate scientists are destined to be insurance agents, bank tellers and whatever else is available when their run is over, as it now is apparent they are whirling around in their end game. I’m selling white lab coats short and looking into making a killing on firewood logs from discarded scientific journals. Similar to the end of the Golden age of classical music composers, the field of physics will evolve into performance physics.

  17. One question I have about the increasing tornado count and the increasing tendency of tornadoes to be in big outbreaks: How much of the increase of big outbreaks is in F0/EF0 tornadoes?

    I know that the linear trends of F2/EF2, F3/EF3, F4/EF4 and F5/EF5 tornadoes since 1950 and since 1954 have been very slightly downward, and the linear trend of F1/EF1 tornadoes since 1950 and since 1954 has been very slightly upward, and the increase of total tornadoes has been almost entirely in F0/EF0 ones. 1950 is when comprehensive tornado counting began, and 1954 is when it got fairly good for ones stronger than F0/EF0. Has increased detection of F0/EF0 tornadoes been mostly in outbreaks, and fueled increase of the reported tornado count in outbreaks and increase of the percentage of detected tornadoes being in big outbreaks?

    One thing that seems to me as being the case is that an identifiable multivortex tornado is counted as one tornado, although I don’t know how satellite tornadoes outside a main funnel or vortex cluster are counted. So I think tornadoes increasingly being identified as multivortex ones are not the main reason for increasing tornado count and increasing percentage of tornadoes being in big outbreaks.

    • The second biggest outbreak in history was April 3,4 in 1974 with 148 tornadoes with 30 of them being F4/F5 (the story became one of Reader’s Digest most-read articles, the Day of 100 tornadoes).

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1974_Super_Outbreak

      2011 was the biggest on April 25 to 28 with 362 tornadoes, 348 fatalities, only 4 F5s however.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_Super_Outbreak

      An outbreak in 1925 resulted in 727 deaths was probably bigger.

      • I note that according to Wikipedia, the tornadoes in one storm system in a period of a little over 72 hours in the first four days of April 1974 are considered to have been in two separate outbreaks, with one tornado being considered as not being in either of these two outbreaks but between them. The 1974 super outbreak is considered to have lasted less than 24 hours.

        And that the 2011 super outbreak is counted as one outbreak that began April 25 and ended April 28.

        Tornado counts F1/EF1 or stronger by intensity in the two official outbreaks of April 1-4 1974 combined and the April 25-28 2011 super outbreak:

        F/EF 1974 2011

        F/EF 1 45 143
        F/EF 2 42 49
        F/EF 3 38 22
        F/EF 4 23 11
        F/EF 5 07 04

        I wonder what Tippin’s study would say if the tornadoes in April 1-4 1974 are counted as all having been in one outbreak. Also, I wonder if there were other times when tornado events from a single storm system were considered sets of multiple outbreaks in the earlier years covered by Tippin’s study, and considered as lumped together into single outbreaks in the more recent years of Tippin’s study.

  18. While no significant trends have been found in either the annual number of reliably reported tornadoes or of outbreaks, recent studies indicate increased variability in large normalized economic and insured losses from U.S. thunderstorms, increases in the annual number of days on which many tornadoes occur, and increases in the annual mean and variance of the number of tornadoes per outbreak.

    So there’s no increase in tornado numbers or outbreaks, but apparently there’s more more tornadoes per outbreak, and more tornado days!!

    This is an arithmetical impossibility!

    • Ooooo! Make that data say something! Me thinks the study studied Mann’s methods of studying significance statistics in order to say it was significant.

      Gawd how I love alliteration.

      • Pretty sure I saw a hockey stick flying around in one of those twisters. Looked like a left winger’s stick!

    • If you ask me, the meat of the quote is saying there are no more tornadoes, we just built a whole slew of buildings, houses, etc so that the damage is increasing. …. thus the insurance companies are whining ….. and funding bogus climate studies to create justification for raising rates.

    • You misread it. He doesn’t say there are more tornado days. There are more days with many (E)F1+ tornadoes occurring on them (0.5/year with at least 30 on a day in the 1970s, 2.5-3 now). There are fewer days with at least 1 (~150/year in the 1970s, ~100/year now).

  19. If the mainstream media was truly balanced they would be ripping this claim and many other CAGW claims to shred. They’ll rip anything that is contrary to the meme, but go silent when crap like this is published. Do the believers of CAGW that frequently come to this blog agree with this or do they have some explanation that the rest of us would like to hear?

  20. The only good clusters are almond clusters. Every other use of the word seems designed to scare people.

  21. Multiple-vortex tornadoes aren’t responsible for the changes. A multiple-vortex tornado still is one tornado in the database. Reporting changes are unlikely to responsible for the observed changes (fewer days with at least one F1+ tornado, more days with many F1+ tornadoes) with the net result being no trend in the annual number of F1+ tornadoes per year from 1954-present (~500/year). Those changes have been known in the literature for a few years.

    Those changes are not the main result of this paper. The main result here is in addressing the proposal from Elsner et al (2014) that the clustering on the big days is because of changes in CAPE. CAPE has increased and is expected to increase more as the planet continues to warm. What Tippett et al has shown is that changes in CAPE are not consistent with the changes in tornado reports. The change in reports on big days are associated with changes in storm-relative helicity. From a forecasting standpoint, that makes sense, but it’s not clear how that’s related to a warming planet, so Tippett et al. suggest that some physical process to link the helicity changes to the warming planet must exist or the change in distribution of tornadoes is related to something other than the planet warming.

    • Harold Brooks,
      Several Inquiries. -How was SRH calculated in 1965 compared to today? The number of meteorological inputs have significantly changed have they not?
      -Why did they decide to use EF1 and not EF2 as their lower bound? It seems to me more EF1’s are being rated as such today that maybe would have been completely ignored in 1965 or included as part of one longer track tornado? Which begs a larger question on how and what were the procedure/directives for damage surveys in 1965 and how has that changed today?
      -How many individuals were conducting damage surveys and how much money was spent on surveys in 1965 compared to today?
      -How many more buildings and structures to be damaged are there today compared to 1965 and was this taken into account? For Example there are 260 Million road vehicles today compared to 92 million in 1965. That’s quite a bit less of one type of object that can be damaged or destroyed compared to today. Thank you.

      • SRH wasn’t calculated in 1965. Neither was CAPE. They didn’t exist then. The calculations are done in this case using the North American Regional Reanalysis, which uses all of the observations available at the time, runs them through the analysis package that would be used to initialize current numerical weather prediction models and creates vertical profiles of the atmosphere. Those profiles match well at collocated radiosonde sites.

        (E)F1 is typically used as the lower bound because the decision that it is at least (E)F1+ (causing some minimal damage) has been relatively consistent. This results in no long-term trend in the annual number of (E)F1+ tornadoes (~500/year). It’s not perfect, but it’s much better than using (E)F2+. No tornadoes had damage ratings assigned in 1965. The vast majority of pre-~1977 tornadoes were rated by undergraduate students in the late-’70s using text descriptions of the damage (Fujita’s group had done some assessments 1970-1975). There are a number of pieces of evidence that indicates that the students overrated tornadoes from F1+-the sudden change in many of the statistics of tornadoes (path length, number per day), environmental conditions, Tom Grazulis’s work on uncovering pictures of damage and then assessing them independently. The overrating problem for F1+ for the first 20+ years of the dataset has been known for about 25 years, but there’s no simple fix.

        Many of the statistics of individual tornadoes for (E)F1+ have not changed through the years (width is a big exception). What has changed in the last few decades is a slow trend to fewer days with at least 1 (E)F1+ tornado and an increase in the number of days with a lot of (E)F1+, as well as increased variability to the timing of the early part of the national season (primarily impacted by occurrences in the southeast) and a shift of the season earlier in the year in the Plains. It’s really hard to explain those behaviors by invoking reporting changes. The first two (days and number per day) would be expected to change in tandem if it was reporting issues and there’s nothing about variability of the timing that would be expected to change with reporting.

        Again, Tippett’s work is significant because it takes the previously reported changes in occurrence and looks at how environments have changed, finding that the changes in helicity correlate well with the changes in occurrence, but the changes in CAPE don’t. Changes in CAPE, which increases in the mean as the planet warms, had been proposed as the explanation for the occurrence changes. Tippett’s work makes that explanation extremely unlikely so that we’re left with two choices: 1) the changes aren’t associated with warming (maybe with one of the slowly evolving teleconnections), or 2) the changes in helicity are associated with warming in a way that’s not completely understood at this point.

  22. Thanks for answering some of my inquiries. Do you know if any adjustments were made in the reanalysis with respect to time(yr, decade) for SRH? Seems like more measurements would increase SRH maxima ie compact shortwaves, MCV’s etc.that wouldn’t be resolved well using a sparser observation network.Thanks -Jon

    • Not for SRH, specifically. Error characteristics of observation systems are taken into account in the data assimilation to create the state variables (temperature, mixing ratio, components of the wind, pressure) and then calculations of quantities of interest are done on those variables. Over the lifetime of the NARR (the reanalysis used), surface and upper air observation networks have not gotten more dense. It doesn’t use radar data and it begins when the modern satellite era begins (1979).

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