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Climate Change, Tornadoes, and Politics

by gregladen on May 21, 2013

bachmann-screamI have a few miscellaneous but related items for you. First and I’m sure of great importance to every one on this list … the OFA has produced a database of climate science deniers in the US Congress. The following might be familiar to you:


“Carbon dioxide, Mister Speaker, is a natural byproduct of nature. Carbon dioxide is natural. It occurs in Earth. It is a part of the regular lifecycle of Earth. In fact, life on planet Earth can’t even exist without carbon dioxide. So necessary is it to human life, to animal life, to plant life, to the oceans, to the vegetation that’s on the Earth, to the, to the fowl that — that flies in the air, we need to have carbon dioxide as part of the fundamental lifecycle of Earth.”


Yeah, that’s Michele Bachmann and she’s on the list.


You can see the entire list HERE and drill down by state.


A lot of people want to know if tornadoes are going to become more common with global warming. The short answer is this: Severe storms have already become more common with global warming and this will continue to get worse, but individual categories of storms are very variable and hard to understand. For example, consider this:


I remember when I first moved to Minnesota. That summer we had numerous straight line wind events of the sort never seen before. Maplewood, a community near where I lived famous for it’s tree lined streets lost almost all of its trees in one storm. That same storm also took out most of the stock of most of the new car companies in that town, famous for its numerous car lots. The cars were pitted with hail stones. Every single home for about three miles along a street right near where I lived had it’s vinyl or aluminum siding drilled with hundreds of holes and dents from large hail stones being driven by a 60–100 mile per hour wind. It was one of the worst weather years in Minnesota, with insurance companies practically going bankrupt.


There were only a few tornadoes in the area that year.


The next year there were hardly any straight line wind storms of the magnitude just described. But that is the year of the Saint Peter tornado. It was one of the largest tornado events ever; It was a twister that lifted and dropped a couple of times, so ‘nato-pedants divide it into multiple events, but that’s absurd. It was an F3 and F4 event, and it tracked for 67 miles and was up to one and a half mile wide.


There were a lot of tornadoes that year.


As you can see, it is complicated. That quote is form something I just wrote on my science blog that you may be interested in: Understanding Storms and Global Warming: A Quaint Parable. That kind of goes along with two other posts, here and here.


I don’t mean to make this post a link farm but I thought many MnPP readers would be interested. Since Minnesotans are all about the weather and stuff.

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