Tornado Cluster Sizes on the Rise: Why? By Anthony madalone

The amount of actual tornado outbreaks per year rarely change. What has been changing at an alarming rate, however, is the amount of tornadoes within these outbreaks. Michael Tippet, a professor at Columbia University, has been conducting research on tornadoes since spring 2011, a year with several deadly twister clusters. His initial research determined that, from 1965 to 2015, estimated number of tornadoes in extreme outbreaks doubled from 40 to 80. The next step was determining what was causing these increased numbers.

An example of damage caused by tornadoes

The results of this new study were somewhat surprising for scientists, who initially believed the increase was related to climate change. Rather than a factor clearly increasing due to climate change, it turns out the increased cluster size were caused by an increase in storm relative helicity, a measure of corkscrew like upward winds. Scientists found it unsurprising that this contributed to the increase, but are still not sure how climate change has affected the increase of SRH in the first place. Other scientists urge not to rely primarily on the results of this study, as one study isn't enough to state something as concrete scientific fact.

There's a witch in there somewhere

Analysis of Article: So much of middle America has been affected by devastating tornados, and research into why exactly tornadoes are spreading at the rate they are is extremely important in a world where hurricanes can sweep left and hit places completely unprepared for them: With climate change, weather is getting more and more unpredictable, and conducting research to figure out better ways to understand the tragic storms facing the U.S.A. is essential in our current time. Additionally, the lack of knowledge on how exactly SRH correlates with climate change is important to note: There is plenty more to learn about how climate change affects pre-existing weather conditions in ways we once thought impossible.

Missouri is one of the most endangered states: What did this innocent state do to deserve this?

Even if you hate people: Think of the cows!!!

Big Takeaway: As proven by films such as "The Wizard of Oz" and "Twister", tornadoes have always been a part of Americana culture, being admired and revered for their raw, natural power. However, as proven by these studies, actual information on what causes fluctuations in tornado activity is not only mostly unknown to the public, but also somewhat of a mystery to scientists. As tornado clusters continue to rise in scope and scale, scientists need to continue to push forward and educate the public about just how tornadoes tick, and how to avoid them safely.

Galavanting their way to a better informed future!!!

Credits:

Created with images by NOAA Photo Library - "nssl0232" • PhotoJunkie! - "Goderich Tornado" • NOAA Photo Library - "wea00208"

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