The Biden administration and climate activists are blaming global warming for the tragic and deadly tornado outbreak this weekend. In reality, objective scientific data show tornadoes – and especially violent and deadly tornadoes – are becoming much less frequent and severe as the Earth modestly warms. Global warming won’t make all strong tornadoes disappear, but it is nonsensical and unethical to blame global warming for the few tornadoes that still occur, when strong tornadoes become increasingly rare as the Earth modestly warms.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has been keeping track of tornadoes since the mid-1950s. As shown in the NOAA-created charts below, there has been no increase in the overall number of tornadoes as the planet modestly warms, despite new radar technology that allows us to spot tornadoes that we previously could not spot. More importantly, there has bee a dramatic decline in strong, deadly tornadoes as the climate warms.

Indeed, recent years have set several all-time records for lack of tornadoes. For example, The Hill published a 2018 article titled, “2018 sees record low for deadly tornadoes in US.” Even the alarmist Weather Channel published an article last year titled, “Stunning Lack of U.S. Tornadoes Since May Not Seen Since the 1950s.” Accuweather published an article last year titled, “June 2020 saw fewest tornadoes in nearly 70 years.” The Weather Channel earlier this year published an article titled, “April 2021 Tornadoes May Have Been Lowest In Any April This Century.” The Washington Post published an article earlier this year titled, “No severe tornadoes hit the U.S. this May for first time on record.”

Tornadoes have always occurred and will always occur. Global warming won’t put a complete end to tornadoes. But tornadoes – and particularly strong, deadly tornadoes – are becoming less frequent and severe as the planet modestly warms. Anybody claiming otherwise is either ignorant of the scientific facts, unethically deceitful, or both. Anybody blaming global warming for the few strong tornadoes that still occur is equally ignorant and/or deceitful.

James Taylor is the President of the Heartland Institute. Taylor is also director of Heartland's Arthur B. Robinson Center for Climate and Environmental Policy. Taylor is the former managing editor (2001-2014) of Environment & Climate News, a national monthly publication devoted to sound science and free-market environmentalism.


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