Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Mixed Messages

The following graph appeared in my Facebook feed recently. On the surface, it's good news.  Whether a trend or simply an anomalous "blip" over a much longer term, recent years have seen less violent tornadoes.  Last year (2018) there were none.

Tell that to all those that lost houses or loved ones in tornadoes last year.  A Fujita rating less than 4 or 5 doesn't necessarily make a tornado less deadly.

While the poster didn't expound on what he saw, others (online) have immediately jumped on these data as a debunking of sorts to climate change.  Ironically, the truth is that the number of tornadoes--like so many other climatic events--is increasing.

Add this to the seemingly endless list of other disasters that grows every year, and it puts the "severe tornado" graph in perspective. One downward trend is worth mentioning.  The number of tornado deaths in the US has been (fairly) steadily decreasing thanks to better warning systems and mitigation measures.

Mixed messages indeed.

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