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Which is it?

May 21, 2013 - Ron Deuter
It seems like every time a terrible natural disaster occurs, many quickly want to blame global warming or climate change. The monster tornado that hit outside Oklahoma City was no exception.

CNN’s Piers Morgan to Bill Nye hours after the storm ripped through:

“As a scientist, when you hear about the size, scale, power, devastation of this tornado, what does it tell you about the ongoing debate about climate change?”

Nye said climate change has to be considered after a catastrophic weather event like the devastating tornado in Oklahoma. He also claimed 10 of the last 12 years are the “warmest years recorded.”

“Thunderstorms are driven by heat and a tornado is a super thunderstorm — result of a super thunderstorm. So you’ve got to figure that if there’s more heat driving the storm then there’s going to be more tornadoes. Now this is the kind of thing that is worth investigating,” he added.

Rhode Island democratic senator Sheldon Whitehouse on the Senate floor, the day following the storm:

“So, you may have a question for me,” Whitehouse said. “Why do you care? Why do you, Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat of Rhode Island, care if we Republicans run off the climate cliff like a bunch of proverbial lemmings and disgrace ourselves? I’ll tell you why. We’re stuck in this together. We are stuck in this together. When cyclones tear up Oklahoma and hurricanes swamp Alabama and wildfires scorch Texas, you come to us, the rest of the country, for billions of dollars to recover. And the damage that your polluters and deniers are doing doesn’t just hit Oklahoma and Alabama and Texas. It hits Rhode Island with floods and storms. It hits Oregon with acidified seas, it hits Montana with dying forests. So, like it or not, we’re in this together.”

Talk about asinine.

Without jumping into the debate about global warming, or the lack there of as the BBC pointed out this month, a brief history of violent tornadoes might be in order.

The Washington Post produced a graphic detailing the number of violent tornadoes (F3 or higher) in the U.S. each year since 1964.

The decade spanning 1964 to 1974 saw five years with 80 or violent tornadoes. Since 2000 only one year (2011) saw more than 60.

The year 1974 produced more than 125 violent tornadoes. All the talk then was about global cooling, with some scientists even blaming global cooling for the violent tornadoes.

Up until the recent outbreaks, the U.S. was nearing record territory for fewest tornadoes in a season. Was global warming to blame for that too?



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