Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Tornado strength, frequency, linked to climate change

Date:
August 6, 2014
Source:
Florida State University
Summary:
New research shows that climate change may be playing a key role in the strength and frequency of tornadoes hitting the United States.

Tornado (stock image). New research by a Florida State University geography professor shows that climate change may be playing a key role in the strength and frequency of tornadoes hitting the United States.
Credit: fotola70 / Fotolia

New research by a Florida State University geography professor shows that climate change may be playing a key role in the strength and frequency of tornadoes hitting the United States.

Published Wednesday in the journal Climate Dynamics, Professor James Elsner writes that though tornadoes are forming fewer days per year, they are forming at a greater density and strength than ever before. So, for example, instead of one or two forming on a given day in an area, there might be three or four occurring.

"We may be less threatened by tornadoes on a day-to-day basis, but when they do come, they come like there's no tomorrow," Elsner said.

Elsner, an expert in climate and weather trends, said in the past, many researchers dismissed the impact of climate change on tornadoes because there was no distinct pattern in the number of tornado days per year. In 1971, there were 187 tornado days, but in 2013 there were only 79 days with tornadoes.

But a deeper dive into the data showed more severity in the types of storms and that more were happening on a given day than in previous years.

"I think it's important for forecasters and the public to know this," Elsner said. "It's a matter of making sure the public is aware that if there is a higher risk of a storm, there may actually be multiple storms in a day."

The United States experiences more tornadoes than any other country, and despite advances in technology and warning systems, they still remain a hazard to residents in storm-prone areas. The 2011 tornado season, for example, had nearly 1,700 storms and killed more than 550 people.

So far, in 2014, there have been 189 storms with a death toll of 43, according to the NOAA/National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center.

One bright spot of news in the research, Elsner added, was that the geographic areas impacted most regularly by tornadoes do not appear to be growing.

Elsner was joined on the paper by independent researcher Thomas H. Jagger, formerly a research associate at Florida State University, and meteorologist Svetoslava Elsner.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Florida State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. James B. Elsner, Svetoslava C. Elsner, Thomas H. Jagger. The increasing efficiency of tornado days in the United States. Climate Dynamics, 2014; DOI: 10.1007/s00382-014-2277-3

Cite This Page:

Florida State University. "Tornado strength, frequency, linked to climate change." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 August 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140806154011.htm>.
Florida State University. (2014, August 6). Tornado strength, frequency, linked to climate change. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140806154011.htm
Florida State University. "Tornado strength, frequency, linked to climate change." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140806154011.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

White Rhino's Death In Kenya Means Just 6 Are Left

White Rhino's Death In Kenya Means Just 6 Are Left

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) Suni, a rare northern white rhino at Ol Pejeta Conservancy, died Friday. This, as many media have pointed out, leaves people fearing extinction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Beijing Marathon Runners Brave Hazardous Air Pollution

Beijing Marathon Runners Brave Hazardous Air Pollution

AFP (Oct. 19, 2014) Tens of thousands of runners battled thick smog at the Beijing Marathon on Sunday, with some donning masks as the levels of PM2.5 small pollutant particles soared to 16 times the maximum recommended level. Duration: 00:54 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
As Sweden Hunts For Sub, "Cold War" Comparisons Flourish

As Sweden Hunts For Sub, "Cold War" Comparisons Flourish

Newsy (Oct. 19, 2014) With Sweden on the look-out for a suspected Russian sub, a lot of people are talking about the Cold War, but is it an apt comparison? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Orca Pod Spotted in Seattle's Puget Sound

Orca Pod Spotted in Seattle's Puget Sound

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 18, 2014) A pod of killer whales was found swimming off Vashon Island in Washington state. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
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