The Oklahoma Tornadoes Can Teach Us About Our Climate, and Ourselves

Summary:  The reactions to major  events reveals much about us and our institutions. Such as the tragic Oklahoma tornadoes, showing the usual propaganda, the evolution of the news media, and an opportunity to learn about climate science.

Those seeking to use global warming to change US public policy have become desperate as the failure of their forecasts erodes public support.  Many respond by abandoning the IPCC and consensus science, making extreme forecasts outside those forecasts (see the IPCC’s report; large PDF). Many respond by blaming global warming for large but normal weather events.

The former is sad, but the latter is ugly — exploiting tragedies for political gain, with little or no scientific basis. As we see now regarding the tornadoes in Oklahoma.

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) boldly makes stuff up:

“This is climate change. We were warned about extreme weather: Not just hot weather, but extreme weather. When I had my hearings, when I had the gavel years ago — it’s been a while — the scientists all agreed that what we’d start to see was extreme weather.”

“Carbon could cost us the planet,” Boxer added, plugging her own carbon tax bill, co-sponsored by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. “The least we could do is put a little charge on it so people move to clean energy.”  (Daily Caller)

Journalists have usually accepted uncritically any claim relating weather to global warming, without checking what the IPCC says — or if the area has warmed during the past decade or two (a warming world does not mean each spot has warmed).  But they are learning.

Andrew Revkin, New York Times, 21 May 2013:

Any influence of climate change on dangerous tornadoes (so far the data point to a moderating influence) is, at best, marginally relevant and, at worst, a distraction.

BBC News, 21 May 2013:

There are more tornadoes in total being recorded in recent years, mainly due to better reporting and fewer truly unpopulated areas where they would go unseen.

Yet there is no indication that the frequency of large tornadoes is increasing. While 2011 saw thelargest number of storms above EF1 among records dating back to 1954, 2012 was among the lowest.

These articles provide readers with little understanding of the current science, and nothing about the IPCC’s conclusions and forecasts. Still even these small notes in their articles represent progress.

In fact the evidence is overwhelming, both in terms of data and current climate science, that tornado incidence and severity have not increased — and that there is little theory and evidence linking tornadoes to global warming.

At this point point the usual FM website post shows this by marshaling data from the global climate agencies, excerpts from IPCC reports, and statements from scientists.  Anthony Watts has already done so at his website, probably better than I would.  It’s worth a look by anyone interested in truth and science.

For More Information about extreme climate

  1. Climate Armageddon postponed (again): the melting polar ice, 9 October 2010
  2. Looking into the past for guidance about warnings of future climate apocalypses, 17 October 2010
  3. Run from the rising waves! (The latest climate catastrophe scare), 27 June 2012
  4. Ignorance and propaganda about extreme climate change, 10 July 2012
  5. A look behind the curtain at the news of extreme climate events in the US, 22 August 2012
  6. Hurricane Sandy asks when did weather become exceptional? (plus important info about US hurricanes), 28 October 2012
  7. IPCC says “It is likely that the sea level rise has accelerated”. The evidence is flimsy, showing a larger problem, 21 December 2012
  8. Update about global temperatures. Watch our world warm!, 5 January 2013
  9. Has global warming increased the frequency & virulence of extreme weather events?, 10 February 2013

This piece is cross-posted from Fabius Maximus with permission.

One Response to "The Oklahoma Tornadoes Can Teach Us About Our Climate, and Ourselves"

  1. Hal   May 29, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    I live in Oklahoma — born here 65 years ago — the 'extreme weather' has definitely gotten much worse. As to the reason — that is hard to say — but YOU are the one distorting facts.