Year 4, Month 6, Day 2: Why Are You Worried About You-Know-Who?

The Cleveland Plain Dealer, on climate change’s connection to the OK tornadoes:

So, the actual question is whether climate change is influencing tornado disasters like the one in Oklahoma. Eric Berger of the Houston Chronicle jumped right into the fray and finds that a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration official in 2011 said there currently is no evidence to link tornado activity to climate change … but don’t completely rule it out:

The fact that the United States swung from a record high in 2010-11 to record low in 2012-13 caught the attention of meteorologist Patrick Marsh of NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center. He calculated that the record 12-month tornado maximum of 1,050 EF-1 and stronger tornadoes from June 2010-May 2011 was a 1-in-62,500 year event, and the record 12-month low of 197 EF-1 and stronger tornadoes that occurred from May 2012-April 2013 was a 1-in-3000 to 1-in-4000 year event. In summary, Marsh wrote: “Anyway you look at it, the recent tornado ‘surplus’ and the current tornado ‘drought’ is extremely rare. The fact that we had both of them in the span of a few years is even more so!” Could this be related to climate change? Perhaps climate change is causing more extremes, both and high low. “The extraordinary contrast underscores the crazy fluctuations we’ve seen in Northern Hemisphere jet stream patterns during the past three years. Call it ‘Weather Whiplash’ of the tornado variety,” says Jeff Masters. Nevertheless, when it comes to tornadoes and a warmer world, science really cannot say at this time.

Always, um, happy to resurrect the Cheney Doctrine. May 21:

So we “can’t completely rule out” the idea that climate change might have a role in the tornadoes that just hammered Oklahoma? Good. After all, what likelihood is there that the accelerating greenhouse effect could cause devastating storms, out-of-season precipitation, and extreme weather events? Lets’ make that probability pretty low. Is two percent too much? Okay, reduce it to just one chance in a hundred that the connection is real. Such a small probability shouldn’t trigger action. Or should it?

“Even if there’s just a 1 percent chance of the unimaginable coming due, act as if it is a certainty.” The Cheney doctrine was applied to lead us into a pointless and costly war on the flimsiest of pretexts. By contrast, if the evidence for Iraqi WMDs was as substantial as that for the dangers of human-caused climate change, our troops would have found loose nukes in the bazaars of Baghdad.

Warren Senders

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