Flawed Claim of New Study: ‘Extreme Tornado Outbreaks Have Become More Common’

Executive Summary
from Anthony Watts:
Why this study is fatally flawed (in [Watts’] opinion):

Ironically, the hint as to why the study is fatally flawed comes with the photo of the Wyoming tornado they supplied in the press release. Note the barren landscape and the location. Now note the news story about it. 50 years ago, or maybe even 30 years ago, that tornado would likely have gone unnoticed and probably unreported not just in the local news, but in the tornado record. Now in today’s insta-news environment, virtually anyone with a cell phone can report a tornado. 30 years ago, the cell phone was just coming out of the lab and into first production.

Also 30 years ago, there wasn’t NEXRAD doppler Radar deployed nationwide, and it [NEXRAD] sees far more tornadoes that the older network of WSR-57 and WSR-74 weather radars, which could only detect the strongest of these events.

[Pre-NEXRAD detection relied on a radar operator being present, proficient, persistent, and a bit lucky to paint the storm just right to see a hook echo or V-notch. These were the main markers at the time. With NEXRAD, the hooks and Vs are secondary to the Doppler shears pinpointing rotation. And now we can see much more rotation without the hooks and Vs–ergo, better detection and “more” tornadoes.]

Watts Up With That?

A new paper shows that the average number of tornadoes per outbreak has grown by more than 40% over the last half century. The likelihood of extreme outbreaks – those with many tornadoes – is also greater.

This paper is flawed from the start, right from the raw data itself, read on to see why – Anthony

Elk-Mountain-tornado A tornado near Elk Mountain, west of Laramie Wyoming on the 15th of June, 2015. The tornado passed over mostly rural areas of the county, lasting over 20 minutes. John Allen/IRI.

From the Earth Institute at Columbia University:

Most death and destruction inflicted by tornadoes in North America occurs during outbreaks—large-scale weather events that can last one to three days and span huge regions. The largest outbreak ever recorded happened in 2011. It spawned 363 tornadoes across the United States and Canada, killing more than 350 people and causing $11 billion in damage.

The 2016 Severe…

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New Study Finds That Outbreaks Of Multiple Tornadoes Becoming More Common

With the advent of WSR-88 NEXRAD Doppler Radar, detecting rotation became simple. Previously the WSR-57 (Mil: AN/FPS-41) displayed blobs on a scope. It was a fun toy, er system, to play with, but an operator had to manually adjust range, tilt, and sweep, and only then might be able to see a hook echo or V-notch.

So, Paul Homewood is spot on here. There are more lower intensity tornados detected now than before–merely because of the tools available. Forensic work, inspecting damage hasn’t changed much.

Here’s a piece from the AMS on Weather Radar history:

http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/full/10.1175/1520-0434%281998%29013%3C0219%3AHOOUOW%3E2.0.CO%3B2

NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT

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Tornado Stats For 2015

NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT

By Paul Homewood

image

http://www.spc.noaa.gov/wcm/#data

NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center have now finalised their tornado data for 2015.

The year finished with 481 tornadoes of EF-1 strength or greater, the fourth year in a row that has been below average.

Perhaps more significantly, the number of EF-3 and stronger tornadoes was one of the lowest on record. You have to go back to 1987 to find fewer. There were no EF-5s at all, and only three EF-4s.

image

http://www.spc.noaa.gov/wcm/#data

Rent seeking junk scientists continue to torture the data in order to convince people that tornadoes are somehow getting worse. Unfortunately for them, the evidence is utterly clear – the opposite is the case.

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In the ‘warmest year ever’, U.S. tornado deaths were near lowest ever

Watts Up With That?

While pundits such as AP’s Seth Borenstein are trying to link some climate and weather connections in a new study, this sobering fact is worth noting. Since record keeping began in 1875, U.S Tornado deaths are near the lowest ever for 2015. And, this is the fourth year in a row that tornado deaths have been below average.

Paul Homewood notes a downward trend in all tornado types, weak and strong.

image

http://www.spc.noaa.gov/wcm/#data

NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center have now finalised their tornado data for 2015.

The year finished with 481 tornadoes of EF-1 strength or greater, the fourth year in a row that has been below average.

Perhaps more significantly, the number of EF-3 and stronger tornadoes was one of the lowest on record. You have to go back to 1987 to find fewer. There were no EF-5s at all, and only three EF-4s.

image

http://www.spc.noaa.gov/wcm/#data

Source: https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2016/03/10/tornado-stats-for-2015/

Dr. Roger Pielke Jr…

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NOAA’s Misleading Tornado Graph

Why does NOAA persist in highlighting a graph, at the very top of the Annual Report, which they know to be totally and grossly misleading?

NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT

By Paul Homewood

tornado-counts-0112-2015

http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/tornadoes/201513

Time for my annual moan!

The graph above comes from NOAA’s Annual Tornado Report for 2015. (They also have monthly reports which show similar charts).

image

Looking at the report, you would understandably believe that tornadoes have been getting steadily more common over the years, and that it presumably must be something to do with global warming.

But as we already know, it is nothing of the sort. The increase in tornado numbers is simply a function of changing reporting practices and technology. NOAA themselves explain all this as follows:

Today, nearly all of the United States is reasonably well populated, or at least covered by NOAA’s Doppler weather radars. Even if a tornado is not actually observed, modern damage assessments by National Weather Service personnel can discern if a tornado caused the damage, and if so, how strong the tornado may have been. This disparity between…

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