The indefatigable Anthony Watts this week launched a Tornado Reference Page on WattsUpWithThat.Com (WUWT).
The figure compares the 2013 tornado count as of Dec. 22 with those of the previous mininum and maximum years in the 58-year record from 1954 through 2012. As Watts observes, “the current tornado count of 790 for 2013 is 154 tornadoes below the historical minimum of 944, 497 tornadoes below the 50th percentile of 1287 and 1089 tornadoes below the historical maximum 1879.”
The data in the graph are “inflation-adjusted,” NASA explains, to offset “the increase in tornado reports over the last 54 years [that] is almost entirely due to secular trends such as population increase, increased tornado awareness, and more robust and advanced reporting networks.”
Even without inflation-adjustment, the preliminary tornado count “for 2013 year to date is 934, which is 544 tornadoes below the 2005 – 2012 average of 1478 and 134 tornadoes below the 2012 low of 1068 tornadoes,” Watts comments.
One might argue that U.S. tornado data may not show a link to global climate change because the U.S. comprises only 6.6% of the world’s land mass. However, if such a link exists, it ought to be discernible in the U.S. tornado record. As Watts points out, the U.S. “experiences approximately 75% of all the world’s tornados.”
The latter fact prompted one commenter to write:
You mean to say, that with only 5% of the world’s population, the United States consumes 75% of the world’s tornadoes? This over consumption of the Earth’s resources by the US, and particularly its unsustainable middle class lifestyle, has got to stop.
For more on the lack of empirical evidence linking tornado frequency, strength, and deaths to global climate change, see Roger Pielke, Jr.’s recent testimony before the House Science Committee.