Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Tornados, Flooding May Warn Of Climate Change

Date:
June 4, 2008
Source:
University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Summary:
Record-keeping meteorologists at the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration say this year's tornado season is one of the deadliest in a decade and may be on pace to set a record for the most tornadoes. And flooding in the Midwest has been at 100-year levels this spring.

Meteorologists say this year’s tornado season is one of the deadliest in a decade and may be on pace to set a record for the most tornadoes.
Credit: iStockphoto/Clint Spencer

Record-keeping meteorologists at the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration say this year’s tornado season is one of the deadliest in a decade and may be on pace to set a record for the most tornadoes. And flooding in the Midwest has been at 100-year levels this spring.

Related Articles


“There is considerable concern that climate change due to greenhouse gases species increasing will lead to the enhancement of strong, large storms occurrences, such as hurricanes that also spawn tornadoes when they occur. Increased storm strengths also bring flooding events,” he said.

Gaffney and co-researcher Nancy A. Marley are currently involved in a three-year investigation of aerosols – tiny particles suspended in the air – and their role in climate change.*

Tornadoes are short-lived events and, until recently, scientists had to depend on limited ground observations to study them. Satellites and radar systems are now enhancing researchers’ ability to see their number and strength in detail. But short lived tornadoes are hard to tie directly to climate change due to the limited climatology of tornadoes.

Weather forecasters have examined El Niño and La Niña, important temperature fluctuations in surface waters of the tropical eastern Pacific Ocean, as a potential for past tornado activities in the U.S.

“The data available from NOAA do not support a strong statistical significance to data for direct effects of El Niño or La Niña on frequency or strength of tornadoes,” Gaffney said. “Although, there is considerable concern that climate change due to greenhouse species will lead to significant changes in weather patterns, these currently available data are not conclusive.”

He said the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s report on severe weather events discusses the topics backed up by NOAA data.

“Basic thought is there’s more energy in the atmosphere, more water vapor evaporating and greater likelihood for stronger heating events that lead to stronger thunderstorms - super cells, that can lead to tornado production,” Gaffney said.

He said tornadoes are complex phenomena that are linked to the number of super cells and their storm strengths. Flooding events are more wide spread than tornadoes, and are more readily tied to climate predictions than tornadoes.

“What we are looking to see, in current and future research and data acquisition, is whether the frequency and strength of tornadoes change as we continue to increase the energy distribution in the atmosphere,” he said. “Currently, this year is looking to be significantly larger in the number of tornadoes seen than in the past few years. That and the record floods that are associated with these strong storm systems, may be a warning of things to come. But more data gathering is needed.”

Gaffney points to the improved Doppler radar systems that have allowed tornado warning times to be advanced as the main tool for gathering this tornado climatology that will be needed to evaluate links between climate change and severe weather events.

*The $625,000 study is funded by the Department of Energy Atmospheric Science Program. He and Marley will discuss severe weather and links to climate during their annual orientation for the DOE Global Change Education Program.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Arkansas at Little Rock. "Tornados, Flooding May Warn Of Climate Change." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 June 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080602231312.htm>.
University of Arkansas at Little Rock. (2008, June 4). Tornados, Flooding May Warn Of Climate Change. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080602231312.htm
University of Arkansas at Little Rock. "Tornados, Flooding May Warn Of Climate Change." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080602231312.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Scientists Find Invisible Space Shield Protecting Earth

Scientists Find Invisible Space Shield Protecting Earth

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — An invisible barrier is keeping dangerous super fast electrons from interfering with our atmosphere, but scientists aren't entirely sure how. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — Innovative recycling project in La Paz separates city waste and converts plastic garbage into school furniture made from 'plastiwood'. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) — Researchers at Northwestern University are repurposing Blu-ray movies for better solar panel technology thanks to the discs' internal structures. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Antarctic Sea Ice Mystery Thickens... Literally

Antarctic Sea Ice Mystery Thickens... Literally

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — Antarctic sea ice isn't only expanding, it's thicker than previously thought, and scientists aren't sure exactly why. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins