Kentucky Tornadoes, Climate Change, And Pressure Systems

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Jim Steele

The video examines the weather dynamics that that led to the outbreak of tornadoes devastating Kentucky and the Mississippi River Valley region. Unusual cold, not warmth, plus the North Atlantic Oscillation and Bermuda High Pressure system are shown to be the main natural dynamics generating the storms and refutes the ambulance-chasing climate change journalists that fear-monger attribution to climate change

A transcript of video is available at

https://perhapsallnatural.blogspot.com/2021/12/blog-post.html

Jim Steele is Director emeritus of San Francisco State University’s Sierra Nevada Field Campus, authored Landscapes and Cycles: An Environmentalist’s Journey to Climate Skepticism, and proud member of the CO2 Coalition.

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Tom Halla
December 13, 2021 2:14 pm

But, but, but cold weather is caused by climate change, isn’t it?
No matter what, it is always climate change.

Brad-DXT
Reply to  Tom Halla
December 13, 2021 4:12 pm

It’s that damned CO2 that causes climate change, don’t ya know. It causes warmth and coldness dependent on which way the political wind is blowing and who is bloviating.

MarkW
Reply to  Brad-DXT
December 13, 2021 4:18 pm

As every proper warmista knows, there was no bad weather, anywhere, prior to mankind’s inventing of CO2.

InterestedBystander
Reply to  Brad-DXT
December 13, 2021 4:31 pm

And how much grant money is available.

jChaney
Reply to  Tom Halla
December 13, 2021 6:29 pm

Only if there is grant money involved. Otherwise most of them refuse to comment

Sara
Reply to  Tom Halla
December 14, 2021 5:35 am

It explains why rain gets snow mixed into it when it gets cold, doesn’t it?

menace
Reply to  Tom Halla
December 14, 2021 4:06 pm

Soon we can say goodbye to “nice days” too – every day will become “extreme”

joe
Reply to  menace
December 15, 2021 4:26 am

sorry i am late to the descusion but menace, what you posted sparked my imagination.

soon the jackals will say that days that are extremely nice are caused from climate change.

Vuk
December 13, 2021 2:25 pm

I’ve just looked at this detailed description, and found it surprising that the UK has the highest tornado density (number of tornadoes/annum/size of country)
https://youtu.be/aacHWoB7cmY

jChaney
Reply to  Vuk
December 13, 2021 6:31 pm

Tornadoes are not unique to the USA. We just make a bigger deal out of it than most other countries because we want to be able to warn people and keep them from dying.

Lurker Pete
Reply to  Vuk
December 14, 2021 4:40 am

They’re not usually very large or intense in the UK, tho the one that picked up my brand new 20’x10′ green house and dumped it on the wifes car a few yrs ago was rather annoying.

Bruce Ranta
December 13, 2021 2:38 pm

What I’d like to know is whether any wind or solar installations were hit by the tornado swarm…

Carlo, Monte
Reply to  Bruce Ranta
December 13, 2021 3:13 pm

Hail is incredibly destructive to PV modules. They are designed to withstand only 1″ ice balls falling at terminal velocity, which translates to a 3mm thick topsheet of glass. Larger hailstones and/or high wind velocity and the glass is in trouble.

Rud Istvan
December 13, 2021 2:54 pm

When I was growing up, explanatory stuff like this on tornados and hurricanes was standard dinner table fare. Thanks, Jim Steele, for the memories.

My father was an AF pilot who after WW2 was sent to UCLA for a double masters in meteorology and radar electronics (needing tensor calculus for imaging). Then he was sent to Guam to command the 409th Typhoon Chasers from 1948-1951 (then Japan to again fly bombers over Korea). The 409th used retrofitted B29s with extra fuel tanks for up to 24 hour missions, weather radar antenna in the plexiglass top and tail gunner turrets, and dropsondes in the bomb bay with receivers in the belly turret

We were visiting my grandparents in Cleveland late 1950’s when a severe tornado struck; we sheltered in the basement. Dad took us to the scene next day just a few miles away. Block after city block of sturdy working class brick bungalows just leveled. Nothing left standing. That evening’s dinner conversation was memorable. Cold over hot plus high wind sheer. The tornadic spin can also start horizontal, but then the supercell updraft will ‘catch’ an end and move it vertical.

Gunga Din
Reply to  Rud Istvan
December 13, 2021 3:34 pm

That reminded me of the P61 and The Thunderstorm Project.
https://www.weather.gov/iln/ThunderstormProject
If you’ve ever been to The National Museum of the United States Air Force and saw the P61 Black Widow they, you saw one of P61’s that was part of that project.
https://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/Visit/Museum-Exhibits/Fact-Sheets/Display/Article/196248/northrop-p-61c-black-widow/

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Gunga Din
December 13, 2021 5:15 pm

Gunga Din, one of the images you posted in the first link brought back further memories. One of the early radar rectangular reflectors used on weather balloons to capture wind speed at altitude was invented by my father, an early then classified US patent. While he was at Sea Crest Inn (look it up) before posting to Guam.
In fact, at his Arlington funeral, in addition to interring in his columbarium a copy of the patent, I read a portion of a by then declassified Air Force report explaining that the infamous Area 41 1948 UFO ‘crashed alien spacecraft’ (see movie Independence Day) was in fact just a crashed train of several together tethered weather balloons using Dad’s reflector design to experiment with max altitude. Which design featured balsa wood and copious duct tape to rigidly hold the shape of the aluminum foil rectangular radar reflector. Who knew aliens used duct tape like earthlings.

Remember also my Dad’s all purpose handyman motto:

  1. If it doesn’t move but should, use WD40.
  2. If it moves but shouldn’t, use duct tape.
Rud Istvan
Reply to  Rud Istvan
December 13, 2021 5:52 pm

For the record, USP 2462102A.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
December 13, 2021 5:06 pm

The world has dumbed down enormously since then, more’s the pity!!!!

Michael in Dublin
Reply to  Rud Istvan
December 13, 2021 5:48 pm

Rud, I noticed a few buildings in the photos still standing with all around them flattened. Were they sturdy enough and use certain building techniques to make them more stable? Are there ways to adapt buildings to survive these powerful winds?

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Michael in Dublin
December 13, 2021 6:02 pm

Several schools in Oklahoma damaged by tornadoes have been rebuilt to supposedly withstand an EF5 tornado.

The one I saw looked like a large concrete, rounded bunker.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Michael in Dublin
December 13, 2021 6:04 pm

Luck of the draw with what was maybe an EF3. And probably on the periphery of the vortex. Like a figure skater, the wider the arms the less forceful the spin—basic angular momentum physics.
Nothing can withstand an EF5. My Cleveland memory did not record EF, but was probably a 4 or 5. Was a narrow track, maybe two blocks wide.

So just like a tighter but higher Cat hurricane, more powerful within. Andrew’s Cat 5 1993 track was barely 20 miles across. Miami, just about 30 miles north, barely experienced Cat 3.

Angela
December 13, 2021 3:11 pm

I’ve spent all day pointing out to people that if the earth were becoming warmer on average all over, we’d be having fewer and less intense tornados because the mechanism needed is the clash of cold air with warm moist air. Warmer all over does not allow for dynamic air mass mixing like we saw that creates those tornados.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Angela
December 13, 2021 6:05 pm

And you would be correct.

Also, strong tornadoes need moisture to get big and strong. There just happened to be a big pool of moisture right over the areas hardest hit.

So you have a cold front, meeting a warm front, and right where they meet is a large pool of moisture. Everything was in place for large tornadoes.

bluecat57
December 13, 2021 3:18 pm

You forgot the covid virus in the diagram.

M.W.Plia
December 13, 2021 3:42 pm

Next Sunday 60 minutes is covering the increase in “severe weather” phenomenon.

Should be interesting.

Derg
Reply to  M.W.Plia
December 13, 2021 3:48 pm

CIA broadcasting?

DMacKenzie
Reply to  M.W.Plia
December 13, 2021 3:50 pm

Let’s hope Heartland Institute is sending them some graphs…

Mumbles McGuirck
Reply to  DMacKenzie
December 13, 2021 5:33 pm

You’d do better shouting down a well. There are none so deaf as those who will not listen. The MSM are not interested in hearing anything contrary to their prejudices.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Mumbles McGuirck
December 13, 2021 6:07 pm

Yes, you are wasting your time trying to take away the climate change gravy train from the MSM.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Mumbles McGuirck
December 13, 2021 7:36 pm

Interestingly, the Biased Broadcasting Company is not blaming Climate Change ™
https://www.bbc.com/news/59641376

Gunga Din
Reply to  M.W.Plia
December 13, 2021 3:59 pm

Let me guess.
It will short on history but long on recent death counts and property damage.
I wonder if they’ll mention the Tri-State Tornado, 1925? The Great Natchez Tornado, 1840? The St. Louis-East St. Louis Tornado, 1896? The Tupelo Tornado, 1936? Daulatpur-Saturia Tornado, Bangladesh, 1989? (1,300 dead)

Reply to  Gunga Din
December 13, 2021 5:10 pm

Historical context? You’ve got to be joking, your average journalist is far too deficient in any decent learning for that kind of analysis.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  John Karajas
December 13, 2021 6:09 pm

“Historical context? You’ve got to be joking”

He *was* joking. 🙂

Yes, weather history is not the friend of the alarmists. It makes them look silly.

jChaney
Reply to  M.W.Plia
December 13, 2021 6:37 pm

I can’t wait to see just how many lies they tell

M.W.Plia
Reply to  M.W.Plia
December 13, 2021 7:07 pm

They (60 minutes) are calling the presentation “The New Science of Superstorms”

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  M.W.Plia
December 13, 2021 7:34 pm

And the normally alarmist af BBC is actually saying that it’s not Climate Change ™:
https://www.bbc.com/news/59641376

Last edited 9 months ago by Zig Zag Wanderer
Climate believer
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
December 13, 2021 11:39 pm

The dementia riddled US President Joe Biden said:

“The fact is that we know everything is more intense when the climate is warming,” 

Yeah right Joey, just like your ability to string a coherent sentence together.

menace
Reply to  Climate believer
December 14, 2021 4:09 pm

yeah we had an intensely nice day yesterday

I don’t recall a nicer December day in my lifetime

bdgwx
December 13, 2021 4:09 pm

Jim Steele said: “Unusual cold, not warmth”

It was above average warmth (not cold) plus a lot of other well colocated parameters that set the stage for this outbreak.
comment image
comment image

Reply to  bdgwx
December 13, 2021 4:30 pm

bdgwx

You seem to totally misunderstand the dynamics and just pushing global warming BS

The temperatures in the Gulf were not above average, but when that warm air pushed up the Mississippi River Valley indeed temperatures were raised above average.

In contrast, col winds converging on Mayfield KY that came from the northwest were well below average.

Its cold air over lying warm air that creates the instability causing the storm

bdgwx
Reply to  Jim Steele
December 13, 2021 6:41 pm

I’m pretty familiar with tornadogenesis dynamics. Thanks.

Temperatures in the GOM were above average in the days leading up to the arrival of the 500mb trough.

The nearest official observing site Paducah, KY did not experience below average temperatures until Sunday 12/12 and that was only a -2.1 F departure. On Friday 12/10 the day of the outbreak the the departure was +22.9 F with a record setting high of 73 F.

700 mb temperatures were running around +6 C. The average for 12/10 is -3 C.

500 mb temperatures were running around -13C. The average for 12/10 is -17C.

Cold air was overlaying warm air. That did create instability. But everything was warmer overall than average. The warmer overall atmosphere sets the stage for higher MLCAPE (mixed layer convective available potential energy). If you look at a skew-t diagram you’ll see that the moist adiabats stay warmer longer as you lift a parcel when the atmosphere is warmer overall. As a result MLCAPE values were approach 1500 j/kg in this area.

Last edited 9 months ago by bdgwx
Reply to  bdgwx
December 13, 2021 6:58 pm

You are way wrong. Temperatures all around Cuba were about 78 F witch is the average, and so were the surrounding ocean temperatures – just average

bdgwx
Reply to  Jim Steele
December 13, 2021 7:54 pm

Low level parcels trajectories arriving in KY on 12/10 did not originate from Cuba. They originated between the Yucatan and NOLA where both SSTs and near surface temperatures were running above average.

Reply to  bdgwx
December 13, 2021 10:31 pm

Wrong again. Indeed the parcels came from the Yucatan, but the sea temperatures north of the Yucatan were about 0.5C cooler than north of Cuba

bdgwx
Reply to  Jim Steele
December 14, 2021 5:40 am

comment image

Reply to  bdgwx
December 13, 2021 7:11 pm

That makes perfect sense to me. I’ve studied weather for decades, and used to design weather instruments that were NWS certified. What I would like to see, and I don’t know where to find it, is what the southern jet stream was doing exactly when the northern one brought that cold air down in the US. They are not synchronous, but I have a suspicion that the southern jet stream was deploying cold air in South America/the southern hemisphere, pushing the warm air between the jet streams northward. If anyone has a way to display that, I’d love to see it. (Because I have me suspicions, you know.)

bdgwx
Reply to  John Shotsky
December 13, 2021 7:50 pm

The HYSPLIT trajectory model does this.

Here are the backward parcel trajectories arriving at Paducah, KY at 0Z on 12/11.

comment image

Last edited 9 months ago by bdgwx
Reply to  bdgwx
December 15, 2021 2:45 am

The moist adiabatic lapse rate (cooling with altitude) is 3 degrees per thousand feet of altitude, so the air moving aloft would be cooling faster than either the dry or normal rates.

bdgwx
Reply to  Walter Keane
December 15, 2021 6:11 am

The dry lapse rate is higher than the moist lapse rate. That means a dry parcel will cool more than a moist parcel for the same vertical movement. The dry lapse rate remains relatively unchanged with increasing temperatures. The moist lapse rate, on the other hand, does change quite a bit with increasing temperature. Here is a good site that lets you view the dry and moisture adiabats separately so that you can see the differences. Notice how with increasing temperature the moist adiabats begin standing more upright and then at 25C actually begin tilting to the right in the skew-t plot.

Reply to  bdgwx
December 15, 2021 8:30 pm

Sorry to get back so late. From my own experience flying missions in US Navy patrol aircraft, it was necessary for us to plan for the lapse rates when considering temperature at altitude as it affected engine power available. The lapse rates utilized were developed under actual flight testing by the Navy and Lockheed and incorporated in our training and flight planning charts.

With increasing altitude, under standard day conditions at sea level, 3 degrees moist, 2 degrees normal, 1 degree dry, all per thousand feet.

Reply to  Walter Keane
December 15, 2021 8:53 pm

to bdgwx:

Thank you for the link to the chart. It would interest me to know when those calculations were published. BTW, log charts, or should I say those on semi-log paper, take me back to slide rules and interpolation…great stuff!

I can see that the definition of dry and moist leaves out a “normal” category. Dry and normal for my flight operations would be categories much less than the moist at 100 percent humidity.

bdgwx
Reply to  Walter Keane
December 16, 2021 6:34 am

Skew-t Log-P charts have been in use since the 1950’s. The moist and dry adiabat parcel trajectories were likely calculated long before that though I don’t know the exact year.

Reply to  bdgwx
December 13, 2021 4:35 pm

bdgwx, I went to tropicaltidbits.com to check out your source but the webstie says “there have been no blog posts in the past week”

bdgwx
Reply to  Jim Steele
December 13, 2021 4:47 pm

That’s because Dr. Cowan didn’t blog about any weather events within the last week. He doesn’t normally provide commentary for tornado outbreaks.

cerescokid
Reply to  bdgwx
December 13, 2021 4:36 pm
bdgwx
Reply to  cerescokid
December 13, 2021 5:13 pm

That link does not open for me.

jChaney
Reply to  bdgwx
December 13, 2021 6:42 pm

Works just fine for everyone else. Probably some grand conspiracy to discredit alarmists

bigoilbob
Reply to  jChaney
December 14, 2021 4:46 am

Works just fine for everyone else.”

No, it does not.

Reply to  bdgwx
December 14, 2021 8:10 am

Well just scroll to the bottom of this page it is one of the links at the bottom By Dr Roy Spencer stating clearly that it was caused by colder that average temps

bdgwx
Reply to  PaulID
December 14, 2021 8:52 am

Dr. Spencer did not say that this tornado outbreak was caused by colder than average temps.

Editor
Reply to  cerescokid
December 15, 2021 9:21 am

Your link is invalid try again this time include the title of the post.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  bdgwx
December 13, 2021 6:12 pm

“It was above average warmth (not cold) plus a lot of other well colocated parameters that set the stage for this outbreak.”

The above average temperatures were only about one degree over the record, and they only lasted a couple of days. So don’t get carried away with your “above average”.

The water vapor in the atmosphere made more of a difference to the tornado strength than the temperatures.

bdgwx
Reply to  Tom Abbott
December 13, 2021 6:43 pm

At the nearest official observing site to Mayfield, KY the departure from average on 12/10 was +22.9 F.

Elevated water vapor mixing ratios were a contributing factor to the longevity and intensity of the quad-state supercell, but that’s not the only factor. Arguably the very high storm relative helicity (SRH) was a more important factor. Either way it’s not just one, two, or even a half dozen factors matter; it’s a lot of parameters that all came together at the right time.

Last edited 9 months ago by bdgwx
Reply to  bdgwx
December 13, 2021 7:08 pm

bdg, you are so ridiculous. here is another screen shot just before the tornadoes began with an overlay of the convective potential energy, white means more. To either side of the Mississippi Valley there is none, not warm enough or moist enough. The convective energy is due to moist warm air originating in the Gulf at average temperatures

convective potential energy.png
bdgwx
Reply to  Jim Steele
December 13, 2021 8:09 pm

Jim Steele said: “bdg, you are so ridiculous.”

I’m not the one claiming that “unusual cold” was the cause of the tornado outbreak.

Jim Steele said: “here is another screen shot just before the tornadoes began with an overlay of the convective potential energy, white means more.”

Here is an even better graphic showing the convective available potential energy. Note that CAPE does not by itself predict the magnitude of a tornado outbreak or whether one will occur at all. There is a lot more to it than just that.

comment image

Jim Steele said: “The convective energy is due to moist warm air originating in the Gulf at average temperatures”

To be pedantic the GOM was actually above average. Whatever…the important point is that it wasn’t unusually cold or anything like that.

Last edited 9 months ago by bdgwx
Reply to  bdgwx
December 13, 2021 10:35 pm

Again the GOm was not warmer than usual . And you dishonestly twist things as you seem prone to do. The unusual cold was coming from the Great Plains, and you fail to address that

Anthony Banton
Reply to  Jim Steele
December 14, 2021 3:15 am

Again the GOm was not warmer than usual “

Then why do we have this? ….

comment image

Anthony Banton
Reply to  Anthony Banton
December 14, 2021 3:20 am

And the 30 day evolution ….
comment image

Reply to  Anthony Banton
December 14, 2021 7:06 am

On December 10th, the SST temperature off Cuba was ranged between 78.5 – 80 F . I referenced because it was the warmest in the region and also I referenced that to Cuba’s coastal land temperatures which average 78F. SST declines slightly from the Yucatan as we approach Louisiana shores to 77F.

The air temperature at 1000 hPa shows similar pattern

Your anomaly animation distorts the temperatures and depending on the winds

Anthony Banton
Reply to  Jim Steele
December 14, 2021 8:08 am

“Your anomaly animation distorts the temperatures and depending on the winds”

No, it shows that the anomalies in the GOM were +ve.
The opposite of your …
“Again the GOm was not warmer than usual “
Just that.
What the advection trajectories were is not part of my calling out of your assertion that “Again the GOm was not warmer than usual “.
Assuming, that is, that “not warmer” means a neutral or -ve anomaly.

Last edited 9 months ago by Anthony Banton
bdgwx
Reply to  Jim Steele
December 14, 2021 8:08 am

Here is the 2 meter and 850 mb temperature anomalies 48 hours prior to the outbreak. Even if the low level air parcels were being transported from further east near Cuba you can see from Anthony Banton’s SST anomalies and the air temperature anomalies below that there is widespread above average temperatures both air and ocean in this region in the days leading up to the outbreak and the day of the outbreak.

comment image
comment image

Last edited 9 months ago by bdgwx
Reply to  Anthony Banton
December 14, 2021 11:03 am

I’ll admit my reference to Spencer’s talk conflated cold weather associated with spring tornadoes and was inappropriate for the discussion of the tornado outbreak in Kentucky.

Nonetheless my problem with the contention over temperatures in the Gulf are 3 fold.

First the tornado that hit Mayfield was estimated as an EF3 which is just moderate strength as far as tornadoes go, and the destruction of Mayfield is due to a direct hit resulting in part from local geographical features coinciding with the 3 major factors my video reports.

Second any above average temperature gets pushed or assumes it is evidence of climate change due to radiative heating of CO2 But warmer temperatures are most often due to advection when circulation changes move normally warm air masses over a place that is typically cooler. Tossing around anomalous temperatures is a misleading tactic of alarmists.

The same issue goes for sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico. The Loop Current can bring warmer water’s in or upwelling can cause cooling, what are the anomalies telliing us about climate? This is certainly the case as Banton’s animation shows varying currents cause warm and cold anomalies side by side. But alarmist do blame CO2 ridiculously for both warming and cooling

Finally the assumption for pushing a warm anomaly is that anomalously warm water increases evaporation which pumped more moisture into the atmosphere to later enhance the tornado strength. But that is purely an assumption, and the data does not support it.

Looking at total precipitable waterTPW the air masses blowing from around Cuba which were around average contained from 29 to 31 kg/m2 as it approached the coast compared to air masses moving from the Yucatan, where Banton’s anomaly chart suggests the most anomalous warmth, the TPW for those air masses was just 26 to 27 kg//m2 .

TORNADO TPW KG-M2  12-10-21.jpg
Anthony Banton
Reply to  Jim Steele
December 14, 2021 11:34 am

I agree with your general statements about tornadic genesis, however the causation of the advancing cold/dry airmass over the resident warm, moist airmass cannot be just dismissed as being due to the potency of the cold.
I would suggest that the cold was not anything out of the ordinary for December – and maybe neither was the warm (for recent years/decades). But the 2 have to come together at the same time, and just maybe it hasn’t for that length of time.
However I note that there were several near record maxes within it to the south the day before
What I don’t agree with is this dismissal of the GOM SSTs being “normal”.
I would suggest that in the context of climate change, then we must look further back than you seem to be.

What FI do you mean by “average” here ?

TPW the air masses blowing from around Cuba which were around average contained from 29 to 31 kg/m2″

From what baseline?
Here anomaly trend for GOM waters …..

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EVWNx16WoAUyMzp?format=png

Any airmass advecting across those waters decades back would necessarily have had less TPW (assuming a long enough sea-track).
By eyeball, I make it ~ 0.7C warmer than 30 years ago.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Jim Steele
December 15, 2021 4:29 am

“Second any above average temperature gets pushed or assumes it is evidence of climate change due to radiative heating of CO2 But warmer temperatures are most often due to advection when circulation changes move normally warm air masses over a place that is typically cooler. Tossing around anomalous temperatures is a misleading tactic of alarmists.”

Yes, warm temperatures were not the trigger for this tornado event.

How do I know? Because the same cold front came through Oklahoma, and Oklahoma had the same above-average temperatures as the surrounding States, yet no severe weather at all broke out in Oklahoma. Instead, the severe weather and tornadoes waited until the cold front reached Arkansas before blowing up big tornadoes.

Why did it happen this way? It was because Oklahoma at the time, had extremely dry air over the State, and severe weather and tornadoes need moisture before they can build up into big storms.

Moisture, not temperatures, were the key ingredient in this tornado outbreak.

bdgwx
Reply to  Tom Abbott
December 15, 2021 5:54 am

TA said: “Yes, warm temperatures were not the trigger for this tornado event.”

Actually yes they were. Thunderstorm initiation can occur in association with cold fronts, warm fronts, and dry lines. You guys there in Oklahoma often get dry line forced thunderstorms while we here in MIssouri often get cold front or warm front forced thunderstorms. Those are examples of boundary forced events. The quad-state supercell was neither of those. It was a warm sector event forced in part by temperature reaching a critical threshold that eroded the convective inhibition or “cap”. Temperature was a key ingredient to this warm sector outbreak.

Reply to  bdgwx
December 14, 2021 6:47 am

bdgwx,

You really need to quit wasting you time trying to educate Mr. Steele. He is obviously not interested in learning meteorological dynamics. The indoor weather watchers with a dusty physics book on their shelf seem to have the attitudes that since they know how to spell ‘physics’, or they have sailed a boat for 40 years…they know how everything in the atmosphere works. That is why physicists are not meteorologists & meteorology is it’s own, distinct science. Yes, it involves physics but if you have not studied or trained in *how* dynamics, kinematics & thermodynamics all interact, your going to get alot of presumptions wrong…which, regretfully, happens ALOT here on WUWT. Mr. Watts (who, presumably, has meteorology knowledge) lets alot of junk slide through from both presenters & commenters. :-/

Tom Abbott
Reply to  JKrob
December 14, 2021 7:02 am

“You really need to quit wasting you time trying to educate Mr. Steele. He is obviously not interested in learning meteorological dynamics.”

I’m interested. Why don’t you explain it to me.

Reply to  JKrob
December 14, 2021 8:14 am

please explain it to me since your claim goes against what atmospheric scientist Roy Spencer says in an article on this site and on his home page your argument is seriously lacking here.

bdgwx
Reply to  PaulID
December 14, 2021 8:43 am

That article is concerning severe weather in May 2019 and has nothing to do with the tornado outbreak in Dec 2021. JKrob is right…supercell evolution and tornadogenesis is a complex interplay of kinematic and thermodynamic factors and what was said does not contradict anything Dr. Spencer said. It is unfortunate that WUWT reposted that now 2.5 year old post from Dr. Spencer that has nothing to do with this outbreak. And it is doubly unfortunate that it is now being misrepresented and used to claim this outbreak was caused by “unusual cold”.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  bdgwx
December 15, 2021 4:37 am

It was caused by water vapor, not temperatures.

Oklahoma had the same storm front come through with the same cold and warm temperatures represented, but very little moisture in the air, and the result was no severe weather in Oklahoma and no tornadoes in Oklahoma.

The severe weather began when the cold front ran into the very moist air over Arkansas and to the east of Arkansas.

Moisture is what caused the outbreak, more than any other factor.

bdgwx
Reply to  Tom Abbott
December 15, 2021 5:45 am

It wasn’t caused by any one thing alone. Moisture is prevalent in the midwest year-round and yet violent tornadoes are few and far between. The fact is that both moisture and temperature are necessary, though not sufficient, ingredients for outbreaks. High moisture without high temperature does not lead to high CAPE values. Likewise, high temperature without high moisture does not lead to high CAPE values either. And even when there is high CAPE values like is common in the midwest tornadoes still won’t always occur. The biggest discriminator between violent and non-violent tornadoes when all other ingredients are in place is probably storm relative helicity (SRH). 0-1 km SRH values were very high in the vicinity of the quad-state supercell.

Alasdair Fairbairn
Reply to  JKrob
December 14, 2021 8:54 am

bdgwx: Letting junk slide through is one of the strengths of WUWT with little censorship. The junk soon gets sorted out in the comments section and enables one to form one’s own conclusions, free of moderator bias.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Jim Steele
December 14, 2021 6:59 am

“To either side of the Mississippi Valley there is none, not warm enough or moist enough.”

That was the main reason Oklahoma wasn’t involved in tornado activity. Oklahoma happened to have very dry air when the storm front went through here and no tornadoes were generated. It was only when the front reached the moisture in Arkansas and farther east that the tornadoes blew up.

Reply to  Jim Steele
December 14, 2021 6:18 pm

Another way to understand that the tornadoes were just weather, and any claims about above average temperatures due to climate change contributing to the tornadoes on December 10th tornado is nonsense, is to compare the change in convective potential energy just 4 days later as shown in this screen shot. The convective energy over the Mississippi Valley has disappeared suggesting the GOM temperatures were not the driving factor. Climate is long term change, weather is short term

CAPE tornado 12-14-21.png
Last edited 9 months ago by Jim Steele
John Tillman
Reply to  bdgwx
December 14, 2021 8:18 am

It took both warm, moist air from the Gulf and a cold front within a low pressure trough moving in from the Great Plains to cause the tornado family. Had the air been a degree cooler, it still would have been wet enough to have spawned storms. So IMO it’s fair to blame the cold front, although obviously it takes both air masses to spin up tornadoes.

As Winter Storm Atticus, the cold front had previously dumped masses of snow on the Rockies.

Last edited 9 months ago by John Tillman
JamesD
Reply to  bdgwx
December 14, 2021 9:16 am

That’s nice. Do you have the map from the 1974 super outbreak? Same area hit.

bdgwx
Reply to  JamesD
December 14, 2021 9:23 am
John Tillman
Reply to  bdgwx
December 14, 2021 10:32 am

Thanks for the link!

Major tornados were definitely stronger and more frequent back in the postwar cold interval, ie late 1940s to the PDO shift of 1977, as one would expect.

The F5 rating was first accorded in 1953, a high tornado year. Major tornadoes were much more common in the 1950-70s than during subsequent, balmier decades.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_F5_and_EF5_tornadoes#Official_F5/EF5_tornadoes

Although 2011 was a pretty bad year.

Last edited 9 months ago by John Tillman
Tom Abbott
Reply to  John Tillman
December 15, 2021 4:40 am

2011 was a year of all kinds of extremes. Heat, drought and everything associated with them.

John Tillman
Reply to  Tom Abbott
December 15, 2021 2:19 pm

True. Including the cold snap which should have alerted the TX grid to its vulnerabilities.

JamesD
Reply to  JamesD
December 14, 2021 2:04 pm

Yeah, 1974 was bad. What was the CO2 level back then?

Tom Abbott
Reply to  JamesD
December 15, 2021 4:40 am

Good question. 🙂

BOB N
December 13, 2021 6:04 pm

Any loss of lives due to tornados is sad, and this outbreak is no exception. Yet the climate alarmists/politicians cannot let a disaster go by without pontificating their flawed climate policies.

Super outbreaks of the past could not be tied to climate change. 1925,1974, 2011 in the US, for instance. (I experienced that in 1974 as my then place of employment in Xenia, Ohio blew down along with most of the city.)

Thankfully tornado watches and warnings are more real time. Otherwise, we would all cower in our basements full time awaiting the next disaster due to global warming.

Last edited 9 months ago by BOB N
John Hultquist
Reply to  BOB N
December 13, 2021 7:45 pm

Xenia, Ohio – – – – A friend’s house got demolished in that one.
[ we met at the university in Cincy, but I left the area]

John Hultquist
December 13, 2021 7:40 pm

Cliff Mass has a good post — for those here that are looking for explanations.

Mike Maguire
December 13, 2021 10:51 pm

Great article Jim!

TDS…….Tornado Debri Signature:

https://www.marketforum.com/forum/topic/78838/#78981

Screenshot 2021-12-14 at 00-50-27 Severe weather late Friday early Saturday - MarketForum.png
Barry Sheridan
December 14, 2021 12:08 am

Very useful video, thanks.

Greg
December 14, 2021 6:20 am

Here is the truth about “the new normal”.

comment image

The late 20th c. warming period saw a consistently LOW count of all major tornadoes : EF 2,3, and 4. Attempts to link this single event in any way to “global warming” is totally counter factual. The post war cooling period had a much higher counts of powerful tornadoes and there has been no change in the distribution to more or less powerful events.

https://climategrog.wordpress.com/tornado-ef234/

John Tillman
Reply to  Greg
December 14, 2021 8:58 am

Colder is stormier, contrary to the gospel of CACA, and warmer more clement.

gmak
December 14, 2021 6:59 am

CO2. You so bad!

Ireneusz Palmowski
December 14, 2021 8:33 am

As it turns out, winter fronts falling from the north at high strength cause violent weather on the plains because they do not mix with the surrounding air, causing violent convection on the plains.comment imagecomment image

Last edited 9 months ago by Ireneusz Palmowski
JamesD
December 14, 2021 9:12 am

1974 super outbreak. Same area. Nothing new.

Mike Maguire
December 14, 2021 3:51 pm

It’s absurd to push the specific weather that caused this event as being the result of climate change……….unless it includes the fact that climate change, overall indisputably causes LESS violent tornadoes.

Not maybe causes less or in theory causes less violent tornadoes.

Irrefutably causes less by every measure.

Authentic empirical data/observations confirm this.

And its totally expected based on the physics of the atmosphere and meteorology 101.

Warming the higher latitudes in the northern hemisphere at a greater rate than the middle and lower latitudes has decreased the meridional temperature gradient with absolute certainty.
Along with that, has come overall weaker cold fronts and weaker jet streams and a less ideal environment for the most violent tornadoes.

So what if there is a bit more heat and humidity. If that was the main factor then, violent tornadoes would peak in July and August NOT April/May in most years.

Take away the strong cold fronts and jet streams/upper level support and you’d never have any violent tornadoes.
You only have strong jet streams when there is a huge contrast between cold to the north and warm to the south……….with the cold almost always being the key factor in determining how strong the jet stream is.

Ever see a strong jet stream over a hot weather dome in the Summer? It’s the complete opposite. Almost NO wind aloft. You can get thunderstorms in the hot humid air, even a severe thunderstorm but it’s impossible to generate violent tornadoes without the strong get stream(from much colder air on the other side of a boundary between the hot/cold).

Ever see violent tornadoes without a strong jet stream nearby(from much colder air in the northwest sector of the that storm complex)?
Never happened. There was a strong jet stream every time.

This was no exception.

During this tornado outbreak, there was a heavy snow event in the northwest/cold sector of this storm and tons of cold air at the surface and aloft causing a very strong jet stream…………without that, you don’t get violent tornado outbreaks.

The tornadoes took place on the warm, humid side of the strong jet stream.
Snow on the cold side.
Take away the cold……….and everything falls apart…….no matter how much warm, humid air there is.

How many violent tornadoes do you see in the tropics?

Plenty of thunderstorms. More than the mid latitudes.

If climate change warmed the planet so much that the mid latitudes were like the tropics and the high latitudes were warmed the most…………violent tornadoes would almost never happen in the mid latitudes and even be rare in the high latitudes.

It’s scientific retardation to try to tie tornado outbreaks to global warming.

Mike Maguire
Reply to  Mike Maguire
December 14, 2021 4:05 pm

It makes sense to state that tornadoes will increase in the Winter months because of global warming but not nearly as much as they decrease in the peak months during the Spring.
In the last 65 years, violent tornadoes were down 40% in the 2nd half of that period compared to the first half of that period.

This is just basic atmospheric physics and meteorology 101.
https://www.drroyspencer.com/2019/05/recent-tornadoes-are-due-to-unusually-cold-weather/

The low angled sun in December will never be strong enough to generate the heat that a high angled, powerful sun can in April/May So the amount of instability ahead of cold fronts in December will always be limited compared to April/May………..no matter what the water temperature is in the Gulf of Mexico.

Ireneusz Palmowski
December 15, 2021 1:10 am

Note: Severe weather may be coming again soon. Watch for a front over central Canada. On the plains, warm air could be jammed back in between two cold fronts.comment image

December 15, 2021 10:23 am

This major tornado system can plausibly be linked to the secular drop in solar activity which look place post 2007 . See excerpts and Fig 5 forecasts of the coming cooling at
 http://climatesense-norpag.blogspot.com/2021/08/c02-solar-activity-and-temperature.html

“…………….comment image

Fig 5 Correlation of the last 5 Oulu neutron cycles and trends with the Hadsst3 temperature trends and the 300 mb Specific Humidity. (28,29)
The Oulu CR data shows the decrease in solar activity since the 1991/92 Millennial Solar Activity Turning Point and peak There is a significant drop to a lower solar activity base level post 2007+/-.There is a new solar activity minimum at 2009. As in Fig.4 the MSATP at 1991 correlates with the MTTP at 2003/4 with a 12/13 +/- year delay. Short term temperature spikes are colored orange and are closely correlated to El Ninos.
 Temperature Predictions
 Loeb et al 2018 in  “Changes in Earths Energy budget during and after the “Pause” in Global Warming”(30) provided an important observational database from 1998 – 2018.This
showed that a reduction in global mean reflected short wave top of atmosphere flux in the three years following the hiatus resulted from decreased low cloud cover which added to the 2016 El Nino temperature spike.
Figure 5 also predicts SST3gl and Specific Humidity trends from 2022 – 2037. (Blue and Purple dashed lines) The secular change in the Solar Activity to a lower base level after 2007 projects to 2021. The SST3gl general decline trend from 2021 to 2037 is here projected as the reverse of the increase from  1983 – 2004 with the cycle 24 peak projected  at 2028 and the cycle 25 peak at 2037.
Kitiashvili,I 2020 (31)  estimated that Solar Cycle 25 will start after the 2020 solar minimum  and will be weaker than Cycle 24.The maximum of Cycle 25 solar activity should be in 2024/25 with a sunspot number of about 50 +/- 15. The correlative HadSST3gl anomaly is 0.05C. in 2037.The intervening solar activity minimum would be at 2031……………..
 Most importantly the models make the fundamental error of ignoring the very probable long- term decline in solar activity and temperature following the Millennial Solar Activity Turning Point and activity peak which was reached in 1990/91 as shown in Figure 5. The correlative UAH 6.0 satellite TLT anomaly at the MTTP at 2003/12 was + 0.26C. The temperature anomaly at 2021/11 was + 0.08 C. (34) .These RSS/MSU global satellite temperature at 2004/3 was +0.5684 and at 2021/11 +0.5405. These satellite data set shows that there has been no net global warming for the last 18 years. 

Ireneusz Palmowski
Reply to  Norman J Page
December 15, 2021 10:39 am

Despite the low average temperature of the stratosphere, there is a problem with excess ozone in a specific region of the polar vortex.comment imagecomment image

eyesonu
December 16, 2021 5:35 am

I found this photo (I assume it’s for real) of a tornado. I wonder if it is a time lapse. Take a look at the lightening location. Mega phase change occurring there.

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