Tornadoes & climate change — how strong is the evidence?

A twitter thread from Ryan Maue

98 thoughts on “Tornadoes & climate change — how strong is the evidence?

  1. Growing up in Arkansas, just outside Tornado Ally in the 60-70’s, during March and April, we were almost always under a watch or warning. Today, not so much.

    • Sure , there is a clear drop in tornado activity since 1975 peak. The “catastrophic” late 20th c. warming does not seem to suit tornado forming storms.

      It is sufficient to remove the low intensity events for which data collection has not been consistent due to improving technology. EF2 and greater show a clear change.

      Now compare that data to HadCRUFT4 temps: anyone not finding a evidence of a link is probably not looking that hard.

      Perhaps Dr Maue is meaning it is hard to find strong evidence of the “expected” increase claimed by alarmists.

    • Allen …. while tornados have been sparse here this year, ….. I’m just waiting for someone to claim the current flood we are experiencing on the AR river is due to climate change.

      Ya know it’s coming.

    • Midwest Tornado alley. It was the same in Springfield Illinois in the 50’s and 60’s. I Lived through a few tornadoes. One devastated my neighborhood while my brothers and I were tucked in the basement of our house. Just another late spring in Springfield. Of course, back then, they didn’t have all the media toys to tell the world when a tornado hit Springfield. It eventually made its way into the newspapers Beyond St. Louis and Chicago. By then it was simply yesterdays news.

      • I disagree. She can see CO2 but she can only smell tornados.
        Perhaps there are other Gretins who have other skills.

      • Off topic: I wonder if poor Greta has any personal access to her web based accounts? Or does some spook control them? I know that her parents, the media, politicians, the Pope are all hell-bent on encouraging her delusions, but she needs help. It might be worth trying to contact her, to explain that she is the victim of deception. The perpetrators will blame it on skeptics rather than themselves if she self harms. Maybe there isn’t much risk now while she is getting all the hypocritical adulation, but they might get bored with her, or back off when all the dire warnings fail to materialise.
        (I have been involved in a few “interventions” and one was very much like Greta. The first reaction following de-programming can be anger and threats of violence against those responsible. )

        • One wonders whether anyone has a “duty of care “ to intervene on her behalf so as to mitigate additional psychological consequences.

          • I have been thinking the same thing, this should be reported to the the right authorities as child abuse.

          • Except that the kind of “authorities” involved in child protection will be crypto-marxist social workers who will be totally behind this kind of manipulation.

          • That is an utterly ridiculous suggestion considering how Swedish Welfare officials are recruited. They are 100% CAGW fanatics, and if anyone would dare as much as hint anything not absolutely pro-Greta he would be instantly out of a job.

        • We are all being played. She is the perfect poster child for the environmental whackos. If anyone says anything bad about what she thinks and says, then they are an A-hole for picking on the innocent mentally incapacitated girl.
          If you say anything about M. Mann, then it’s ok because he’s an adult male.
          There is absolutely no hope for her to be de-programmed. Her beliefs have been sanctioned by the pope and various other personages.
          I don’t feel sorry for her future. She is not considered mentally incompetent. She is playing this for all it is worth. She is famous. I don’t wish her any harm, but I’m also not giving her a free pass. She reaps what she sows. Her future is not my problem.

          • One day… there will come a Day of Reckoning for Greta and her parents.

            Trust me on that.
            Call it “Karma.”

            – Joel

          • Karma and such other fatalistic fantasies are for people who want to believe if you don’t do anything it will all be alright in the end.

            It is for the downtrodden to be stay downtrodden and not complain.

        • Greta will be made a saint by this strange Pope who may be presiding over the final descent of the Catholic Church. ‘The last Saint’ has a nice bookish sound to it. Sexual abuse scandals began the deconstruction several decades ago. It set the srage for a strange unorthodox, unremarkable Pope to ascend to the august post.

          The timing of his is encyclical on climate change came at a time when the whole meme had already begun to fall apart. How infalible is that.

          • There is a strong smell of sulfur in the Vatican ever since Blair became catholic. Gore even wishes to become too – more sulfur.
            It sure looks like the scandals were used as pressure (dirty dossiers again) to turn Rome green.
            Patriarch Bartholomew is trying to outgreen Francis, and now as WUWT reported, the first eco-Mosque in Cambridge means 3 major religions (sorry forgot the Anglicans) are well tucked in Prince Philip’s ARC (Alliance for Religion and Conservation).
            They are for sure wondering how to green Confucianism (the Taoists are already an ARC done deal).
            As far as I know some ARC’ers have converted to Hinduism.

        • Greta Thurnberg is a child suffering from Asberger’s and OCD blessed with a father, whose family were so green that they named him after Svante Arrhenius. The poor girl did not stand a chance.

      • To give her her full title, St. Greta The Good is all seeing, all knowing and vengeful. So best keep your nose clean, capisce.

      • I have always had this amazing ability to see Bullshit. There is however so much of it coming from the AGW crowd that I am being blinded- which of course is what they are trying to accomplish a la 1984.

    • The only signal related to tornadoes which I can see is their relationship with negative ENSO conditions leading to more activity during La Nina years and in part during solar minima.

  2. The argument seems to be only on the assertion that “climate change” (whatever that is) “increases tornadoes” and severe weather”. Some say yes, and some say no. Deadlock.

    But doesn’t the evidence show the opposite? Data appears to show tornadoes and severe weather DECREASING in recent decades. Measurement bias? Real? Is there any physics that can explain?

    It surely is inevitable that the data will at some point show increasing tornadoes and severe weather (caused by whatever environmental factors that drive the change). The current argument against “climate change” having an impact will not be easily claimed.

    I fully realise this a political issue … but it would be important to understand what causes the apparently changes in extreme weather. The cause are surely many and some not-unrelated to measurements, I would guess.

    • “Data appears to show tornadoes and severe weather DECREASING in recent decades. Measurement bias? Real?”

      I say real. I’ve lived in Tornado Alley most of my life and my experience is the weather, including tornadoes is milder now than a few decades ago.

      We’ve had a lot of tornadoes over the last two weeks (405 or so) but most of them have been below EF3. I’ve only heard of one EF3 so far, but I did see one tornado this morning on tv near Kansas City that was said to be a mile wide, so that one is probably going to be bigger than EF3

      Even though there have been a lot of tornadoes, the death toll has been low That’s probably a combination of good weather warnings and low-power tornadoes. The storm chasers have really had a workout over the past two weeks.

      • Agree. But it’s inevitable that it will take an up-tick. It’s a cycle. And that only reinforces the claim that the extreme weather is “all your fault” and “you have to stop flying, eating meat, driving, …” because we are in a “climate emergency”.

  3. What Anthony and CTM missed today was Dr Roy Spencer’s take on the toronado outbreak.
    Roy’s explanations was simple Meteorology 110 College material. Simple Physics 101 of energy flows between a T1 and a lower T2.
    Sadly, no one on the Left took either of those courses in college. They opted for Gender in America 110 or other such nonsense and threw their tuition money away on their indoctrination in Leftist ideology.

    “Roy Spencer: Why so many tornadoes this year? It’s not what AOC, Bernie Sanders (or maybe even you) think”

    “These conditions exist only when a cool air mass collides with a warm air mass. And the perfect conditions for this have existed this year as winter has refused to lose its grip on the western United States. So far for the month of May 2019, the average temperature across the U.S. is close to 2 degrees Fahrenheit below normal.”

    More here:

    Churches opening up as shelters. This is middle America. Helping each other. Getting through tornadoes and the destruction as they always have for 150 years in Ohio and Indiana.

    The current US continental weather pattern set-up of “cold in the west”, “warm humid in the South and East” will likely continue into June. More of this tornado activity should be expected.
    That is what happens when the 70 year cycle turns downward to the cooling of the next 10-15 years.
    The Climate Scam is over as far as NH warming goes. The only card the Left has remaining is to claim cold associated weather events (like tornadoes and summer snow) are due to global warming.
    Good luck with that Mikey.

    • This was the NOAA/CPC outlook 10days ago for this period of tornado outbreaks.
      Completely predictable as to severity.
      In the above graphic, note the temperature difference gradient setup from Oklahoma to the Ohio River Valley.
      The tornadoes will form in the warmer half as any cold air frontal boundary push forward through that gradient.
      – Meteorology 101.

      The only question that could not be answered on May 20, 2019 was “Where, and exactly when?”
      On daylight-May 28th, 2019 we know that answer: Dayton, Ohio and the surrounding areas, the night of 27-28 May 2019.

      For some green-shill like Mikey Mann or another Climate Barker (Hayhoe, Dessler, et al) to claim this tornado outbreak is evidence of CC is simply a bald-faced liar. And they know it. They are just shilling for glory and $$s.

    • I wish competent scientists, like Dr Spencer, would stop using the misnomer “normal” to refer to the average temperature over some arbitrary period. This was all part of the word game of alarmist pseudo-science where terms are crafted to implicitly suggest something that they can not backup or say openly.

      An average is an average: a statistic, that does not make it normal since that would make any deviations from the average “abnormal”. The politics is to suggest a perfectly static climate is “normal” and recent deviations are “abnormal” and thus due to human actions.

      • Greg…I agree that Dr. Spencer would be better off NOT using the word ‘normal’, when he is really talking about a statistical average. But I don’t agree that he has some nefarious motive for using the word ‘normal’.

        Back in one on my meteorology courses in the 1970s, we had a lengthy class discussion about this very thing. On one side are the purists, who say we should be scientifically correct. On the other side are those who argue that it is about communicating with the public, and the public is comfortable thinking about normal and abnormal, and not about statistics. The National Weather Service issued statistical publications for reporting sites entitled ‘Normals, Means and Extremes’, when they were actually reporting averages, means and extremes. It wasn’t a secret agenda. It was more of a catering to the consumer.

        In public speaking, I would sometimes try to educate my audience by saying that normal weather is not average and average weather is not normal, but this often resulted in a lot of blank stares and required a lot more explaining.

        While there are certainly plenty of cases of words being redefined with agendas in mind, I do not believe that the average vs. normal debate is one of them. Perhaps old newspapers are to blame for using the word normal in place of average. Where ever it originated, it was long before weather and climate were political.

        • It seems to me that “Normal” is what one could expect given their latitude and the time of year.
          Like if you live in Kansas, having a Tornado in May is completely normal weather.
          If you live on the Southern Atlantic Coast (Virginia southward) and you have a hurricane strike in August, you are experiencing completely normal weather.
          If you live in California and you are experiencing:
          Wind (50+mph)
          Cloudy still air
          Heat Wave
          and it is mid June, you are experiencing completely normal weather.

          Aint NORMAL WEATHER Great??

      • same thing for geometers.
        perpendicular is not normal.

        pssst, if all you got is semantics you lose

        • Not following you.

          “In geometry, a normal is an object such as a line or vector that is perpendicular to a given object. ” (per Wiki, if you want to grant that some authority)

          Your turn.

          • Not really. He noticed that the sun angle at two locations separated by about 500 miles was not the same at the same moment of time.

        • Look for someone who doesn’t know how to capitalize or punctuate properly. They will think they are smarter than everyone else. Their first reaction will be to belittle everyone.

      • “A powerful spring-time low pressure system developed across the North American Interior Plains on April 1. While moving into the Mississippi and Ohio Valley areas, a surge of very moist air intensified the storm further while there were sharp temperature contrasts between both sides of the system. Officials at NOAA and in the National Weather Service forecast offices were expecting a severe weather outbreak on April 3, but not to the extent that ultimately occurred. Several F2 and F3 tornadoes had struck portions of the Ohio Valley and the South in a separate, earlier outbreak on April 1 and 2, which included three killer tornadoes in Kentucky, Alabama, and Tennessee.”

  4. If it’s anthropogenic, turn the world upside down, inside out, and redistribute the change. If it’s natural, adapt.

    • If it’s natural, there is no money to harvest from the gullible worshipers of the climate scam.
      But, if it is man-made, then there can be some extraction of money from the climate change faithful for penitence of their fossil fuel sins.
      Hence, every weather manifestation from hence forward must be due to man-made climate change.

  5. The evidence is that weather was a lot stormier during the Little Ice Age.

    Brian Fagan, in his book “The Little Ice Age”, states that,”throughout Europe, the years 1560-1600 were cooler and stormier, with late wine harvests and considerably stronger winds than those of the 20th Century. Storm activity increased by 85% in the second half of the 16th Century and the incidence of severe storms rose by 400%.”. link

    Once again CAGW comes up against the historical record. Apparently the alarmists are illiterate when it comes to history.

    • We certainly hear about it more, via the internet especially, instantaneously and 24/7 therefore ipso facto, prima facetious evidence.

  6. Have scientists actually predicted that climate change would cause more tornadoes in the US?

    In the ‘future impacts – North America’ section of the IPCC AR4 (2007) tornadoes aren’t mentioned. Likewise in the ‘Regional Key Risks – North America’ section of AR5 (2013) increased frequency or intensity of tornadoes are not a predicted consequence of climate change. The main Working Group I report in AR5 (2013) also discusses future regional climate change in North America and again tornadoes are not mentioned.

    Perhaps the reason why there is no strong evidence of a link between tornadoes & climate change is because no one who has studied the matter expects there to be one.

      • The scientists stayed quite while their activist friends were making wild claims and pressuring the politicians to give more money to the scientists. They may not have said anything themselves, but they are complicit in the scam.

      • Because they are leftist pigs, that’s why. They are also naive and scientifically inept.

    • “DWR54 May 29, 2019 at 2:40 am
      Have scientists actually predicted that climate change would cause more tornadoes in the US?

      Perhaps the reason why there is no strong evidence of a link between tornadoes & climate change is because no one who has studied the matter expects there to be one.”

      According to your assertion, researchers achieve desired results because they should conduct research while afflicted by confirmation bias?

      As Bob boder questions; the media and various shallow alarmists; e.g. mike manniacal harp about increases in what they term “extreme weather”.
      Not what the IPCC aleges X amount of years ago.
      Referring back to IPCC chapter summaries fails to address the tornado and other extreme weather noise endlessly repeated in the news.

      Joe Bastardi has been putting his weather forecasts online weeks before the weather events. Joe has accurately identified which weather events will result in what Joe calls “ambulance chasers”; i.e. alarmists and media who shriek about every dangerous weather event as if they’ve never occurred before.

      One also notes that the supposed experts, e.g. NOAA, mostly stay low profile, rebutting media and shallow alarmists only when their extreme weather claims are frankly absurd.

    • I was ready to tear the Telegraph a new one, but the article you linked to doesn’t say anything about climate, climate change or scientists. Did they change it? Was it a different article?

  7. The advent of 24/7 cable television news, live remote broadcast technology, and the storm chasing phenomenon have combined to make it appear that tornadoes, floods, forest fires, hurricanes, etc. are much more prevalent and severe than in the past. It is perception over reality, but the alarmists take full advantage of the technology to spread their false claims, despite the historical data.
    P S… I have an issue with those tornado chasers. They all claim they are collecting useful data and providing a public service. I call BS on that and argue they are just thrill seekers, looking to cash in on any dramatic video they happen to get by putting their lives in danger.

    • That’s exactly what they are. There are tornado chasing businesses/tours. Perhaps a small percentage are researchers today, but the vast majority are thrill seekers.

  8. I ran across this study, the conclusions of which I question:

    “In a separate study published last year, researchers at Northern Illinois University and NOAA’s National Severe Storms Laboratory set out to determine if the total number of tornados across the U.S. had changed over time. They looked at tornado frequency data dating back to 1979, and found that, since then, the number of twisters has been rising in the southeastern states of Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Tennessee, and Kentucky, and falling in the traditionally tornado-prone states of Texas, Colorado, and Oklahoma. In other words, while the number of tornadoes has stayed relatively stable over the last four decades, Tornado Alley has shifted eastward.”

    end excerpt

    I had seen this “Tornado Alley has shifted eastward” before and I think this year is a good illustration of why I disagree with the conclusion that it has shifted east.

    The focus of severe weather is determined by where the jet stream is located. Currently the jet stream is blowing southwest to northeast through Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas, the traditional Tornado Alley.

    Normally, the jet stream will form up this way and will spawn tornadoes in Tornado Alley and then will slowly advace to the east where it will spawn tornadoes in the southeast U.S.

    But this year there is a high-pressure system over the southeast which is blocking the jet stream’s eastward movement and is holding it in place causing storm fronts, which follow the jet stream like a highway, to drop their rain over the same areas day after day, and fucuses the tornado energy around the outside of the high-pressure system pushing tornadoes up and over the high-pressure system and into the midwest.

    Notice no tornadoes are happening in the southeast. That’s because the high-pressure system prevents the storm fronts from entering the area.

    The high-pressure system is changing and moving so this situation will not last much longer. It’s probably headed my way. 🙂

    But I do have to disagree with the people who did the above study claiming the focus of tornadoes is moving east. It all depends on the way the jet stream sets up. Sometimes it will set up like it is now and sometimes farther to the east but it has nothing to do with CAGW as far as I can see unless they can show us how CO2 controls and changes the jet stream. I don’t think they are that far along.

  9. Most people aren’t this dumb and pseudo news stories like these backfire and create skeptics out of anyone with at least a triple digit IQ.

  10. The evidence is indeed strong that cold air combating warm, humid air is necessary for the frontal actions needed to produced rotating thunderstorms/tornadoes. Less cold air means less tornadoes. Again, the eco-loons are 180 deg off the mark.

    • Actually you’ll notice the BoM missed this one in the history of Townsville/Queensland-
      and that 500,000 pounds initial estimate of damage turned out to be 600,000 pounds in 1896 money which equates to minm 68.2 million pounds RPI calculated today (Australia used British pounds in those days)-
      although it could be much higher with those other relative measures.
      Still a very sizeable amount of damage for an early flourishing settlement of 13000 to cough up for compared to 190000 today. Lest we forget eh all you weather worriers climate hypochondriacs and assorted importanty?

    • Fascinating, observa. Autism, Asperger Syndrome, Selective Mutism and whatnot. Who is going to help Greta through college?

      This whole thing about Greta and child strikers reminds me of the hubbub about girls seeing the Virgin Mary or other biblical characters. You have to be nuts to change your whole life based on their pronouncements.

      • It gets even more ironic with the report in The Australian yesterday (29/5/2019)-

        ‘Scott Morrison says his government will be the “curse breakers” of youth suicide as he addressed his new cabinet for the first time.
        The Prime Minister said his government would work to take on the scourge of youth suicide, which he labelled a “curse on our country”.
        “But we are going to be curse-breakers around this table when it comes to attacking that issue,” Mr Morrison said.
        “We have lost too many young people too often too many times. And that is something I know we can bring the country together to focus on as we move forward.”’

        Although he does segue on to conclude with-
        “So, our job is to implement exactly what we said we would do and that is to create 1.25 million new jobs over the next five years.”

        My only answer to that is- Well first up ScoMo you’ll have to stop them being hammered with the Climate Change meme that they’re all doomed anyway but that will take some serious education in science and the scientific method and personally I wouldn’t want to start that Herculean task from where we are at present.

  11. The new story is that while CC doesn’t increase the number, it creates packs/clusters…

  12. tornado activity requires the presence of cold air from the north clashing with warm air from the south. Global warming (I refuse to call it climate change) states that the world as a whole is warming up, especially in the north. If the temperature gradient between the colder air to the north and the warmer air to the south is decreasing because of global warming, then the severity and frequency of tornados should likewise be decreasing. Indeed, during the years when sunspot activity was increasing to record highs, earth’s temperature rose as well and tornado activity decreased. The extreme cold this spring spawned an explosion of tornado activity….not exactly an example of global warming.

  13. According to Joe Bastardi of Weatherbell, the reason for all the tornadoes is not global warming but the cold air masses coming down from the north, meeting the warm air masses coming up from the south. He points out that if the air coming from the north were warm, there would be no conflict when it met the warm air coming from the south.

    To put it succinctly, the cause of the tornadoes is cold air, not warm.

    Of course, that won’t matter to the warmistas.

  14. Any data / information coming from Ryan M or Joe Bastardi is to be respected. They are the best in their arenas.

  15. Cold out in the West in late May is CO2 climate change or the solar minimum? I am betting on the sun. Without the cold, no tornados like we are seeing.

  16. RE: “Tornadoes & climate change — how strong is the evidence?”

    From wiki:
    The term “tornado alley” was first used in 1952 by U.S. Air Force meteorologists . . .

    How come ‘nice days’ are never blamed on climate change?

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