Could global warming be behind the havoc?
The extraordinary Joplin twister –the single deadliest tornado since U.S. officials began keeping records in 1950 — was a rare destructive phenomenon known as a “multi-vortex,” hiding two or more cyclones within the wider wind funnel.
Added to the record 875 tornadoes that tore across the U.S. in April, this latest disaster has experts asking why 2011 has spawned so many deadly storms. While researchers suss out the causes for this year’s record-breaking season, one thing is certain: Unusually big twisters are blasting through heavily populated areas.
“We have had more F4s and F5s than in past years,” said Jack Hayes, director of the National Weather Service, referring to the two most destructive categories of tornadoes. And instead of touching down in farms and fields, storms have hit cities like Joplin and Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Can there be any doubt that violent tornadoes are trending upwards?
Can there be any doubt that the violent weather is due to warm temperatures caused by global warming? The warm air (predicted in climate models) holds more water vapour. Actual air temperatures are not important.
Clearly we need a supercomputer to solve this very difficult question.