Home Science Climate Change Responsible for Tornado Frequency, Intensity in New Report

Climate Change Responsible for Tornado Frequency, Intensity in New Report

image credit: NOAA

Climate change, known to most as global warming, has impacted the season in particular. A new study says, however, that climate change is responsible for tornado frequency and intensity.

The report, written by Florida State University Professor Dr. Thomas Elsner, says that the results show that the US is experiencing fewer days with tornadoes. Whereas there were 187 tornado days in 1971, there were only 79 tornado days in 2013. This seems to indicate that climate change is having a positive impact on the weather, right?

Not so fast.

While climate change has reduced the number of tornado days, climate change has also led to the growth in tornado frequency and intensity. Whereas most tornados were single events back in 1971, today’s tornado events are coming in “twos” or “threes,” for example. Climate change also explains the growth in sudden tornados in which weather conditions instantly turn ugly – often without warning.


Perhaps it is this kind of new pattern that explains why Iselle and Julio are now affecting the Hawaiian islands. There have been few tornados to speak of in the Pacific Ocean over the last decade, but the two hurricanes headed for Hawaii make the event an unusual one indeed.

The report was published Wednesday in the Climate Dynamics Journal.

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