Despite climate change predictions of worsening storms, no major tornadoes in US this year

The Washington Post reports that, with just a few days left in the year, 2018 will be the first year with no violent tornadoes since records began to be kept in 1950.  This year is also vying to be a record for lowest number of fatalities from tornadoes.

It has been predicted that, due to climate change, storms would become more frequent and more violent.  In the United States, this appears not to be the case – and not just for this year.

This year's goose-egg may seem to fit a recent pattern.

In simple terms, there have been downtrends in violent tornado numbers both across the entire modern period, and when looking at just the period since Doppler radar was fully implemented across the country in the mid-1990s.  A 15-year average as high as 13.7 in the mid-1970s will drop to 5.9 next year.

Expanding to include all "intense" tornadoes, or those F/EF3+, this year's 12 is also poised to set a record for the fewest.  I wrote about this back in May, and 2018 has kept pace for record lows since then.

Right now, the mark there is held by 1987, when there were 15 F3+ tornadoes.  As with violent tornadoes, this grouping is also exhibiting both a short- and long-term decrease in annual numbers, probably for similar reasons.

What reasons are those?

The causes for 2018′s lack of violent tornadoes are many, but one key factor is high pressure tending to be more dominant than normal throughout peak season this past spring.  This was particularly so during April and May, when tornado numbers were below to well below normal.

Although the country ended up seeing a number of memorable tornado events after the spring, including several this fall, in most years more than half of the tornadoes occur from March through May.  Making up those numbers is difficult at other times of the year when ingredients for them are less likely.

If you're a climate change hysteric, don't fret.  We can always find something to buttress your argument:

Despite the downward trend in annual numbers, studies continue to find that more tornadoes are happening on fewer days.  In that light, it is certainly possible this drought won't last much longer.

"He said, hopefully."

We've got to start thinking of climate change in terms of thousands of years.  It is not some grand progression where we get warmer and warmer until we fry.  The climate changes in fits and starts.  We can go through a 150-year period, as we are experiencing now, where the temperature may rise.  The next 150, or 500, or a thousand years, the temperature could fall, so that over several thousand years, we end up hotter than we were.

And let's not even talk about single years or even a couple of decades as "evidence" of change.  To base public policy on random weather events and claim they are related to the Earth warming (or cooling) is a political, not a scientific construct. 

Until we better understand the massively complex systems that affect climate, coming up with a "solution" for climate change is a fool's errand.

The Washington Post reports that, with just a few days left in the year, 2018 will be the first year with no violent tornadoes since records began to be kept in 1950.  This year is also vying to be a record for lowest number of fatalities from tornadoes.

It has been predicted that, due to climate change, storms would become more frequent and more violent.  In the United States, this appears not to be the case – and not just for this year.

This year's goose-egg may seem to fit a recent pattern.

In simple terms, there have been downtrends in violent tornado numbers both across the entire modern period, and when looking at just the period since Doppler radar was fully implemented across the country in the mid-1990s.  A 15-year average as high as 13.7 in the mid-1970s will drop to 5.9 next year.

Expanding to include all "intense" tornadoes, or those F/EF3+, this year's 12 is also poised to set a record for the fewest.  I wrote about this back in May, and 2018 has kept pace for record lows since then.

Right now, the mark there is held by 1987, when there were 15 F3+ tornadoes.  As with violent tornadoes, this grouping is also exhibiting both a short- and long-term decrease in annual numbers, probably for similar reasons.

What reasons are those?

The causes for 2018′s lack of violent tornadoes are many, but one key factor is high pressure tending to be more dominant than normal throughout peak season this past spring.  This was particularly so during April and May, when tornado numbers were below to well below normal.

Although the country ended up seeing a number of memorable tornado events after the spring, including several this fall, in most years more than half of the tornadoes occur from March through May.  Making up those numbers is difficult at other times of the year when ingredients for them are less likely.

If you're a climate change hysteric, don't fret.  We can always find something to buttress your argument:

Despite the downward trend in annual numbers, studies continue to find that more tornadoes are happening on fewer days.  In that light, it is certainly possible this drought won't last much longer.

"He said, hopefully."

We've got to start thinking of climate change in terms of thousands of years.  It is not some grand progression where we get warmer and warmer until we fry.  The climate changes in fits and starts.  We can go through a 150-year period, as we are experiencing now, where the temperature may rise.  The next 150, or 500, or a thousand years, the temperature could fall, so that over several thousand years, we end up hotter than we were.

And let's not even talk about single years or even a couple of decades as "evidence" of change.  To base public policy on random weather events and claim they are related to the Earth warming (or cooling) is a political, not a scientific construct. 

Until we better understand the massively complex systems that affect climate, coming up with a "solution" for climate change is a fool's errand.