Reporting bias and the “increase” in weather events in the US

Watts Up With That?

Guest essay by Alberto Z. Comendador

In a recent article I discussed the apparent increase in tornadoes in the US since systematic reporting began, in the early 50s.


I showed how, if one looked at the year-on-year change in temperatures, there was no correlation with the change in tornado counts. The advantage of using year-on-year changes is that the factors that could lead to an observation or reporting bias are almost completely absent: the population of a state, coverage of Doppler radar, etc. will change very little in that timeframe.

So it appears that the increase is due to improved/expanded reporting, not because there are in fact more tornadoes. This is essentially uncontroversial: NOAA gives a similar explanation on its website, though they get around the observation bias with a different method.

Today I want to look at the other weather events NOAA counts. These are:

  • Hail, since 1955

View original post 1,200 more words


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