Study finds climate change does not fuel tornadoes

New research reports tornado frequency trending downward

Published On: Oct 23 2012 04:58:15 PM CDT   Updated On: Oct 23 2012 05:01:03 PM CDT
HOUSTON -

A new study finds climate change is not fueling tornadoes. The research team was led by Roger Pielke, Jr., an environmental studies professor at the University of Colorado. Their findings were accepted for publication in the journal Environmental Hazards.

"It's natural for people to ask, 'Wow, we had this 2011 tornado season with big cities hit and with more than 500 fatalities,'" said Bill Read, former National Hurricane Center Director and Local 2 Hurricane Expert. "Kind of off the charts as far as tornadoes. Kind of like our 2005 hurricane season. The same questions were asked then, 'Is this evidence of climate change?'"

In the spring of 2011, Mother Nature unleashed a violent, tornado outbreak, making it the deadliest tornado season since 1953.

Looking back at records kept since the 1950s, the frequency of tornadoes has actually trended downward.

The study finds the 2011 outbreak was more of an anomaly, than the rule. The weather pattern last year was the perfect set up for tornadoes, which just so happened to hit large cities.

"The population across the southern states, where we do get violent tornadoes, has increased, and we've had growth in the urban areas, so the target, if you will, for Mother Nature has gotten that much bigger," said Read.