Tornadoes ARE influenced by climate change, despite a recent, misinformed New York Times Op-ed. Granted, not enough standardized measurements exist to talk tornado trends. But tornadoes are heavily influenced by local conditions – specifically, the amount of convective available potential energy (CAPE): the more ground-level heat warms air, the more and faster that air rises. Recently published, reputable Stanford University research indicates that the weakening shear predicted to occur between the equator and poles under global warming isn’t likely to compensate for the tornado-causing strengthening vertical shear that also occurs as the global warming surface heats more than the upper atmosphere.
The real upshot? Global warming produces more days with the CAPE needed to produce severe thunderstorms, the cradles of tornadoes, say the researchers. But, hey, you don’t need a tornado to devastate communities: In 2012, 11 weather US disasters each caused $1+ billion in losses. Seven of those events were related to severe thunderstorms, notes Bjorn Carey at Stanford News. And that’s the REAL connection.
Join the swelling numbers of voters TELLING Congress they’ll vote for Clean Energy candidates here: http://signon.org/sign/we-are-the-clean-99?source=c.em.cp&r_by=487176 . This is an ongoing campaign (the next Congressional election is in 2 years!) so please, spread the word. It’s our way of telling Congress that a strong clean energy voting bloc is out there. This is how YOU can make a difference.
For more on Climate Change, check out my weekly column at the HuffingtonPost, Climate Change This Week : http://www.huffingtonpost.com/author/index.php?author=mary-ellen-harte
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