More Truth on Tornadoes
December 6, 2013
The other day I posted the crushing rebuttal from 5 for-realsies storm experts to the hapless pretend climate expert Richard Muller, who wrote in the fast-becoming-equally-hapless New York Times that “Tornadoes are getting weaker” due to climate change.
The major point being that due to changes in the way tornadoes are rated and recorded, there is no way to make such a claim about them, stronger or weaker. There is, however, an emerging body or research that tends to support the general strengthening of convective thunderstorms in a warming world.
Now one of those authors has co-written a letter to the same NYTimes.
Prof. Richard A. Muller (“The Truth About Tornadoes,” Op-Ed, Nov. 21) writes that “strong to violent tornadoes have actually beendecreasing for the past 58 years, and it is possible that the explanation lies with global warming.” However, a primary reason that the intensity of tornadoes has appeared to decline is that reporting has not been consistent over the period spanned by tornado records.
It is well known in the meteorological community that tornado intensities were overrated in the 1950s to 1970s and underrated in the last decade. For example, research-grade Doppler radars measured winds over 280 miles per hour, rated EF5 on the enhanced Fujita scale, in last May’s monstrous Oklahoma tornado that Professor Muller refers to. However, the official National Weather Service rating, which ignores the radar observations in favor of damage indicators, is EF3 (136 to 165 m.p.h.).
Because of the inconsistency in the records, it is not known what effect global warming is having on tornado intensity.
State College, Pa., Nov. 26, 2013
Dr. Markowski is a professor of meteorology at Penn State University. Dr. Brooks is a senior research scientist at the National Severe Storms Laboratory.