Another year, and still no increase in severe U.S. tornadoes

By Paul Homewood

Climate scientists love to blame every bad weather event on global warming. Yet we never hear them cite climate change for the relative absence of bad weather!

One such example are tornadoes in the US, where we now have several decades of carefully collated data.

With the year near an end, we know that the number of tornadoes has been above average this year, though well below 2008 and 2011. Primarily this is due to several outbreaks in February and April:

Data since September is still provisional, so it is too soon to do a full analysis. But what we can safely say is that there have been no EF-5 tornadoes this year, the strongest category. This now extends the period without an EF-5 to six years, the last one being the Moore, Oklahoma tornado in May 2013.

There has only been one longer period without an EF-5, the seven years from 2000 to 2006:


It is also abundantly clear that powerful tornadoes were much more common in the 1970s.

The small numbers of EF-5 make estimation of trends difficult, but such trends are clearer with EF-4s. Provisionally there have been three this year, a figure now unlikely to change:


This is a continuation of low numbers in recent years, in stark contrast to the 1970s:


None of this is rocket science. Meteorologists fully understand that tornadoes, and the thunderstorms from which they form, depend on the clash of warm and cold air. Typically the warm moist air comes from the Gulf, whilst the cold air arrives from Canada. (More info here.)

According to global warming theory, the poles should warm faster than the tropics, which means that the type of thunderstorms we are talking about here would tend to be less powerful. In turn tornadoes should be less frequent and weaker.

I look forward to the BBC/Guardian reporting this good news.

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December 27, 2019 2:11 pm

Clearly the Climate Emergency is so severe that even tornadoes can not survive it!!! Ahhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!! We are all going to die in a fiery flood!!!!!!

What a bunch of morons.

Jeff Alberts
December 27, 2019 2:58 pm

“One such example are is tornadoes in the US”

December 27, 2019 3:03 pm

Children aren’t going to know what an F-5 tornado is!

December 27, 2019 4:11 pm

The explanation of the oddity that all climate impacts are bad, that all bad things are climate impacts, and that in the science of climate impacts there is no good impact and no attribution failure in the face of large uncertainties is that climate science is not unbiased objective scientific inquiry but agenda driven to provide the rationale needed for a pre-determined climate action agenda. The climate action agenda is not made to fit the science but rather it is the science that has to fit the climate action agenda.

Michael Jankowski
December 27, 2019 4:44 pm

“…According to global warming theory, the poles should warm faster than the tropics, which means that the type of thunderstorms we are talking about here would tend to be less powerful. In turn tornadoes should be less frequent and weaker…”

This overlooks the “they know travel in packs” and “outbreaks are less frequent but more severe” claims.

Reply to  Michael Jankowski
December 27, 2019 5:52 pm

The data above prove otherwise.

Check your grammar before you hit post. Don’t let the climate emergency, cough, lead you to rash actions.

Reply to  Michael Jankowski
December 27, 2019 8:06 pm

Antarctica (as a whole) has slightly cooled during the past 40 years.

Ron Long
December 27, 2019 5:20 pm

If you’re waiting for the Beeb to report good news you are in for a long wait.

J Mac
December 27, 2019 5:27 pm

A New Years tradition: Count your blessings…..
No EF-5 and few EF-4 tornadoes is a blessing we all can agree on!

Mike Smith
December 27, 2019 5:34 pm

We need to adjust the historic tornado data, stat.

December 27, 2019 5:44 pm

Meanwhile another- ‘We can’t explain it and it’s a travesty that we can’t’ moment from settled science-

However it is the TC season down under so be prepared for some dooming anytime folks-
to add to all the recent dooming-

Joel O'Bryan
December 27, 2019 5:49 pm

I think the Greens are all still PO’d at the twister that lifted Dorothy’s house and landed on their sister.

The climate-scare crows…if they only had a brain….

Steve Case
December 27, 2019 6:19 pm

The IPCCs AR4; Chapter Ten Executive Summary under Extremes says the warming will be at night, in winter and in the higher latitudes. The diurnal temperature differences will be less.

No link I’m out of town on an iPad

Rod Evans
Reply to  Steve Case
December 28, 2019 4:07 am

Hey, that is the explanation they are looking for. The big tornados are happening at night when it is super hot but no one can see them (except Greta of course) because it is dark!!
I am sure the Guardian BBC team are working on how bad it is at night when no one is about.

December 27, 2019 7:49 pm

[ The 2018 Fourth National Climate Assessment has similar reservations about any links between climate change and tornadoes. It says:

“Observed and projected future increases in certain types of extreme weather, such as heavy rainfall and extreme heat, can be directly linked to a warmer world. Other types of extreme weather, such as tornadoes, hail, and thunderstorms, are also exhibiting changes that may be related to climate change, but scientific understanding is not yet detailed enough to confidently project the direction and magnitude of future change.”]

J Mac
Reply to  Snape
December 27, 2019 10:08 pm

Would you like some syrup with those waffles?

Reply to  J Mac
December 27, 2019 10:51 pm

From a 2013 article in National Geographic:

“Global warming is causing more extreme weather. But when it comes to tornadoes, it could go either way.”

Reply to  Snape
December 28, 2019 4:05 am

Shape what do you think they mean “extreme” weather?

Anthony Banton
Reply to  Derg
December 29, 2019 5:45 am

This is what the IPCC says…..

“There is low confidence in projections of small-scale phenomena such as tornadoes because competing physical processes may affect future trends and because climate models do not simulate such phenomena. ”

“Competing physical processes” being for one, the fact that tornadoes derive their CAPE as much from the overlying cold airmass, as from the humidity within the underlying warm airmass.
We know that the Arctic is warming faster, and so it is not (except of course from the denizens here who only come to have their biases confirmed) a stretch to realise that that part of the trigger mechanism may well counter the other.

Reply to  Snape
December 28, 2019 5:30 am

National Geographic! Hahahahaha, yea, they are SOOOOOO unbiased and reliable.

December 27, 2019 8:00 pm

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The common factor for tornadoes spiking is La Nina cooling.

December 27, 2019 9:09 pm

In 2018 the only EF-4 reported in N. America was in Manitoba, Canada.

Tom Abbott
December 28, 2019 3:16 am

Well, I posted two posts to this article yesterday and neither one of them has shown up.

That’s the first time that has ever happened.

John M
December 28, 2019 8:57 am

I recall several years ago a swarm of tornadoes passed through Oklahoma a did a lot of damage. One community in particular was devastated. A “sustainability” person was practicing the requisite hand-wringing over the sure-to-come global catastrophe.

I did some research and found that the community in question is at a location where severe storms have historically been quite common. Why the “unprecedented” damage? Fifty years before, it was a sleepy ranching community with few people and houses but lots of cattle. Now it is a densely packed suburb of Oklahoma City.

When I helpfully pointed this out to the hand-wringer, I was met with a blank stare.

December 28, 2019 11:56 pm

Sigh!!!! The science say Tornadoes are very much in the uncertainty basket and yet this article implies that the lack of a significant increase is proof the science is wrong. Huh?

Reply to  Simon
December 29, 2019 2:36 am

No! “the science” said that there would be an increase in all types of violent weather due to climate change. They are cautious about tornadoes but they NEVER call out those outside of “the science”, like politicians and media, when they make claims about tornado outbreaks being due to climate change.

Anthony Banton
Reply to  rah
December 29, 2019 5:47 am

No it didn’t rah.

See my post above.
Nah, rah, that would conflict with your cognitive dissonance of course.

Gerald Machnee
Reply to  Anthony Banton
December 29, 2019 2:42 pm

The IPCC expressed uncertainty, but that is not what you hear in the media. Most refer to the “science” as Rah said. Of course those who do so are generally repeating and not checking what the science or the “science” says.

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