Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Some Thoughts On Tornadoes

Headline from The Washington Post:

Obama to visit Missouri Sunday; deadly tornadoes on the rise

Kent comments:

A deadly tornado wipes out much of Joplin, MO.  What does The Washington Post notice about that?  What else?  Obama will pay them a visit.  Obama’s whole public persona rather turns my stomach at bit, but even apart from our beloved leader, I have always found government officials visiting disaster cites amusing.  Once  a strong storm came through where we live.  The next day I was out repairing the house and cleaning up the mess.  Did I care if the President, or any other official drove by to have a look?  Not really – unless he was prepared to get out of his expensive ride and do some work to help – which such persons never are, of course.  (Yes, I know they are sometimes willing to send other people’s money to ‘help’ – but that is another matter.)

But our story continues, and as I read, I wondered when the ‘global warming’ angle would show up.  Oddly, the next point was this:

An emerging body of research points to a cyclical drop in temperatures in the Pacific Ocean as part of the answer. Called La Nina, the cycle lasts at least five months and repeats every three to five years. This year La Nina is pushing a strong North American jet stream east and south, altering prevailing winds. The jet stream’s river of cool air high in the atmosphere pulls warmer, more humid air from the ground upward, forming thunderstorm “supercells.”

You mean the Pacific Ocean getting cooler could help create more deadly tornadoes?  That’s what some think.  But The Washington Post were not just going to leave those chips on the table.  The very next words were:

The climate-change factor?

“Climate change could be boosting one of those ingredients [for tornadoes], but it depends on how these ingredients come together,” said Robert Henson, a meteorologist at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research.

Well, they tried to get ‘climate change’ in the mix, but their experts weren’t really biting this time.  I can just see those reports overcome with disappointment.

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