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A Tornado of Misinformation

No matter the season, weather is highly variable. So global warming alarmists never miss an opportunity to turn the latest bad weather into an argument for taxing carbon, or whatever. When tornadoes struck this spring, the alarmists and their minions in the press were quick to blame global warming. Just a few examples:

Think Progress: “Poisoned Weather: Global Warming Helped Fuel Killer Tornadoes.”

CNN: “That’s climate change we are seeing.”

Treehugger.com: “[T]ornado season doesn’t usually begin until April, leading climate scientists to link the warmer weather to earlier (and potentially longer) seasons.”

NBC News: “ANNE THOMPSON: Extreme weather blew March 2012 into the record books. It saw almost three times the average number of reported tornadoes. NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, says our the unusually warm weather created conditions favorable for twisters. And while there’s no one culprit to blame for the rising thermometer, there is a prime suspect.

TOM KARL [NOAA]: Right now, we have a climate on steroids. What we mean by that is green house gases continue to increase in the atmosphere.”

And there was even more alarmism about global warming and tornadoes last year. So, what are the facts? If someone is going to argue that atmospheric CO2 is causing an extraordinary number of tornadoes, the prerequisite is an extraordinary number of tornadoes. Unfortunately for the alarmists, there is no evidence that tornadoes are increasing in the U.S. or anywhere else. Paul Homewood at Watts Up With That has the data. This chart shows “strong to violent tornadoes” as classified by NOAA from 1950 to the present. As is immediately obvious, there is no upward trend, although 2011 happened to have a lot of major tornadoes:

How about 2012? Is there any evidence of an unusual number of tornadoes this year? No. In fact, 2012 is, so far, a below average year for tornadoes:

It would be bad enough if the alarmists merely capitalized on random increases in bad weather phenomena to support their case. But the fact that the alarmists try to blame global warming in years that are actually below average in adverse weather events illustrates why they have no credibility with the American people.

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