Monday, March 07, 2016

Climate Query as US Tornado Risk Rises

A tornado west of Laramie, Wyoming, June 15, 2015. It passed over mostly rural areas, lasting some 20 minutes. (Credit: John Allen/International Research Institute for Climate and Society) Click to Enlarge.
Tornadoes in the US are getting worse, with the numbers in any one outbreak and the hazard of ever more frequent outbreaks both on the increase.

And although climate change driven by global warming from human causes is under suspicion, nobody really knows for sure whether that is driving the pattern of change.

But change is certainly happening.  New research published in Nature Communications has examined the pattern of outbreaks and found that the average number of tornadoes in any one outbreak has increased since 1954, and the chance of extreme – and therefore extremely destructive – outbreaks has also increased.

An outbreak is a large-scale weather event that can last for days, span huge regions and spawn multiple tornadoes.  Continental America is used to these outbreaks, which is why a band of territory that spans central Texas, Illinois and Indiana, and embraces parts of Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado and South Dakota, is known as Tornado Alley.

Read more at Climate Query as US Tornado Risk Rises

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