Changing Climate Contributes to Record Tornado Season

Weather researchers at Iowa State University say a shifting climate and warmer ocean temperatures are partially responsible for a record number of tornadoes this spring.

More than 100 were reported in Iowa, in May alone. Eleven hundred tornadoes were reported regionwide in May, from Texas to Minnesota and from West Virginia to Georgia. That’s more than twice the 30-year average. One of the fiercest killed five people and injured dozens in rural Greenfield, Iowa.

I-S-U severe weather meteorologist William Gallus says extreme heat from a changing climate has increased ocean temperatures, and is one contributing factor to this year’s storms…

Gallus says the weather pattern known as El Niño, characterized by warmer ocean temperatures that prompt more precipitation and fuel severe weather, is now shifting to La Niña, marked by cooler seas and drier weather. That could cause the rest of the tornado season to be less active…

Gallus says data show tornadoes occurring on fewer days each year, but coming in clusters and with greater intensity. He says some storms that have been listed as ‘Category F-3’ are probably ‘F-5’s,’ but measurement methods in some areas are not adequate to gauge the storms’ intensity.

(credit to Iowa News Service)