SATURDAY NIGHT: A few showers, possible thunder. Low: 53
Washington, OK tornado damage
TN hail yesterday
Snake River flooding Idaho
Northern CA tornado:
Joplin damage slideshow
Ellsinore, MO tornado:
* For a little light reading click here to see the PDF summary. Let's hope this never happens, but statistically, I fear it's just a matter of time before a major metropolitan area is hit by an EF-4 or EF-5 super-tornado. We've been relatively lucky, but as this year is proving out, if the tornado count goes up (for whatever reason: La Nina, Arctic blocking patterns, even climate change) the odds of large, damaging tornadoes hitting populated areas goes up proportionately.
Photo credit: "A 3,000 pound anchor from what is believed to be the wreck of the pirate Blackbeard's flagship, the Queen Anne's Revenge, is recovered from the ocean where it has been since 1718, on Friday, May 27, 2011 in Beaufort Inlet, in Carteret County N.C. Crew member Mitchel Gilliland, right, helps guide the anchor aboard the Dan K. Moore. (AP Photo/The News & Observer, Robert Willett)"
Living The Weather
Yesterday's Emissions, Today's Denial, Tomorrow's Climate. Doug Craig interviews Bill McKibben at redding.com:
"Ever reasonable, usually concise and often well-informed, Bruce Ross, editorial page editor of the Record Searchlight, offered us "a helpful counterpoint to my last blog." I had referred to Bill McKibben's piece in the Washington Post in which he made a connection between extreme weather events and climate change. In response, Mr. Ross invites us to visit Reason, "the monthly print magazine of 'free minds and free markets.'" While McKibben focused on climate-related disasters all over the planet, Reason ignored this and zeroed in on tornadoes alone. They found evidence to suggest that this is not all that unusual and certainly not related to anthropogenic climate change. "We see no correlation between global or US national temperature and tornado occurrence." Also, "The tornado record does not show a steadily increasing trend toward bigger deadlier storms." And then there is this: "Since modern records on tornadoes began, the deadliest outbreak was (over 37 years ago) on April 3, 1974. The 'Super Outbreak' claimed 310 lives when 148 tornadoes over a 24-hour period swept across 13 states." I remember April 3, 1974. I was a senior in high school when the Xenia Tornado hit nearby, killing 33. One of my best friends lost his sister and niece that day as they sought cover in a restaurant bathroom. But all of this is beside the point. Tornadoes are but one aspect of our unsettled climate. Imagine a man who smokes cigarettes, drinks excessive amounts of alcohol and overeats to the point of obesity. As the years go by his physician could warn him that he should quit smoking and reduce his food and alcohol intake as blood tests reveal worrying signs of his steadily deteriorating health."
Climate change was involved.
There's no way it wasn't. The world we live in is a world warmed-up and altered by greenhouse gases that we put in our atmosphere and that's just the way it is. There is no control group. Every weather event we get is happening within the context of a climate-changed world. As one scientist, Dr. Peter Gleick at the Pacific Institute, puts it, "We are loading the dice." This has become one of my favorite ways to think and talk about the tricky relationship between weather and climate change. It might be tempting to take this approach to the extreme and blame climate change for everything from not paying your taxes to the Red Sox's poor start to the season, but there is actually a physical explanation for how climate change loads the dice. Greenhouse gases trap heat. Heat is one form of energy. That energy has to be used for something: warming the atmosphere is one thing but it can also go toward evaporating more moisture (warmer air holds more moisture) and raining it out again, intensifying storms." (photo above courtesy of weatheradvance.com).