U.S. Experienced Below-Average 2020 Tornado Year, Continuing Long-Term Trend

The United States in 2020 experienced fewer tornadoes than average, continuing a long-term trend of fewer of the deadly, extreme-weather events.

The National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center (NWSSPC) reports 1,247 U.S. tornadoes in 2020, as shown in the graph below from the NWSSPC website. 

But there is even more good news: The official data show trends in observed U.S. tornadoes have been declining down over the past 15 years. Note the small table inserted in the upper left of the graph.

That 2020 count of 1247 tornadoes for 2020 comes in below the mean, with the mean being 1,392 tornadoes over years 2005-2020, as shown at the bottom of the table.

But here is the really good news that you won’t see reported in the mainstream media.

According to the data table on that graph, 7 of past 9 years have been below the mean for U.S. Tornadoes, which is reflecting a long-term downward trend. Because the vast majority of tornadoes globally occur in the United States, this means that global tornadoes are becoming less frequent, also.

If you look at the data table from the graph above where I have highlighted in yellow, 11 of the past 15 years have been below the mean for U.S. Tornado counts as well.

Of course, virtually every time there is a tornado on the news, climate alarmists try to claim that “climate change” is the root cause of more tornadoes, when in fact, the official data simply don’t support that narrative. We are actually experiencing fewer tornadoes as the Earth modestly warms.

Climate alarmists won’t tell you good news like this, because the real-world data spoils their narrative. We at Climate Realism will tell you the truth, regardless of political agendas.



Anthony Watts
Anthony Watts
Anthony Watts is a senior fellow for environment and climate at The Heartland Institute. Watts has been in the weather business both in front of, and behind the camera as an on-air television meteorologist since 1978, and currently does daily radio forecasts. He has created weather graphics presentation systems for television, specialized weather instrumentation, as well as co-authored peer-reviewed papers on climate issues. He operates the most viewed website in the world on climate, the award-winning website wattsupwiththat.com.

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  1. Could it be that climate change, with northern latitudes becoming warmer, is the cause of fewer tornadoes, by reducing the temperature gradient in mid latitude convergence zones?


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