By Boris Konon, Meteorologist and Storm Chaser
Here are the most recent U.S. tornado statistics from the Storm Prediction Center (SPC).
October U.S. tornado count average is 61 (69 preliminary) and November averages is 58 (27 preliminary). Preliminary number for December so far is 29 and average is 24. That essentially appears to be it for the year. The 29 preliminary count this month is about 10 less for a final count when you remove duplicate reports from 12/23. Yearly U.S. average is 1253.
I estimate the final count for 2014 will be ~835. That is an extraordinary deviation from the mean. 67% of average, 6% lower than 2013 and 8% lower than 2012! This is the lowest count since 1988 when 702 tornadoes occurred. 1989 is second with 856.
Here is a graphic that shows “detrended” tornado counts over the years. This helps to account for the better detection and documentation of tornadoes over time. Not perfect, but better than just the raw numbers. Look at 2014...about two standard deviations below average!
In the last 15 years, we see more well below than well above average years. Another way of looking at it, there are more wild swings in the past 15 years. True, but the door swings both ways and unlike say precipitation (too wet or too dry) the lack of tornadoes is a good extreme regardless of how you look at it. So with tornadoes, the more wild swing hypothesis due to climate change cancels things out more or less in the long run. Yes, there will be big years and devastating outbreaks, but that is part of normal climatic variation. As we have seen, for some reason the very occurrence even a single tornado is somehow “unusual” and makes national headlines routinely, even if it hits nothing or does minor damage with no harm to anyone. When about 1250 tornadoes occur in the U.S. a year, a tornado is quite a typical event, not unusual.
Another item, this is the third year in a row where U.S. tornado fatalities have decreased. It is not just regression to the mean either due to the very high toll in 2011. In the last three years, the numbers have been 70, 55, and 46. This has more due to with random chance than climate, as we know all it takes is one badly placed intense tornado to make it a well above average year (i.e.
Joplin), but to level the playing field on an argumentative and prevailing public mindset level, a decrease is a decrease, and that is a good thing. Contrast if it went up 2012-2014, then the klaxons would probably be sounding and this would be utilized as “proof” the weather/climate is getting worse, even though as I said, this is random chance, either way! Mesoscale event placement is so far below mean large scale climate it is basically irrelevant to the issue. Another way of looking at it is that fatalities have resumed the typical in the last 3 years to what has been
occurring in most years going back to 1975.
Two main things at work here,
1) watches/warnings for tornadoes has improved considerably in the last 40 years, and
2) the number of people in this country has increased considerably, from about 216 million in 1975 to 316 million in 2014. So you have one item that decreases the risk of fatalities and one item increasing the risk of fatalities. You can crunch the numbers all you want here, but overall it at worst appears to be status quo in the long term mean.
One more item, although the number of total tornadoes per year is going up overall (and that is more a better detection/documentation fact than anything), the number of F3/EF3+ has shown a slight decrease in trend. These are the ones that do the most damage and cause the most fatalities, and what we should be most concerned with.
Bottom line there is reasonable evidence currently that tornadoes in this country both from a meteorological and fatality point of view are not getting worse. The U.S. represents only 6.6% of the land on the globe, but is the tornado capital of the world, and has a very extensive tornado database, so looking at tornado trends here is better than anything else we currently have to measure
Radical global warming campaigners trespass on treasured Inca cultural sites
Craig Rucker, CFACT
Greenpeace likes to pretend it’s on the side of local people, especially indigenous peoples. But time and again they demonstrate a shocking degree of cultural boorishness.
Now Greenpeace activists have Peruvians up in arms, after trespassing all over treasured Incan cultural sites at Machu Picchu and Nazca, while doing ridiculous publicity stunts to highlight their claim that tiny amounts of plant-fertilizing carbon dioxide are causing “dangerous” planet-wide climate change.
The Times of London’s Ben Webster says a Peruvian prosecutor investigating the incident was angry that the activists had caused “irreparable damage” to a large area of the “Nazca lines,” an ancient monument that UNESCO lists as a World Heritage Site. The “lines” are a series of ancient glyphs in the country’s southern desert region. Hundreds of figures include stylized fish, hummingbirds, lizards, monkeys and spiders. Archeologists believe they were created by the Nacza culture 1360-1615 years ago.
The damage affects some 1,600 square meters (0.4 acres) next to a hummingbird etched into the desert soil. A spokeswoman for the prosecutor said that, under Peruvian law, damaging the historic site could be punishable by a prison sentence of three to six years. The Peruvian cultural ministry is also considering suing Greenpeace for damages, Webster said.
I challenged the inconsiderate Rainbow Warriors inside the UN climate confab, during their press conference. You can watch the exchange here. A year ago, Russia jailed another band of Greenpeaceniks for trespassing on one of its oil rigs. It will be interesting to see how Peruvian authorities punish these thoughtless desecrators of Incan cultural sites. Stay tuned to our www.CFACT.org website.
Big Green and other Leftist ideologues are blind to the harm their actions cause. As blind as so many people in Southeast Asia will be if Greenpeace propaganda succeeds in denying them access to the GMO “Golden Rice” that their diets need to ensure good visual health.
Eco activists cry a river for plants or bugs, but think nothing about parents and children dying from malaria, because of their opposition to insecticides and the powerful spatial repellant DDT; going blind from Vitamin A deficiency, because of Golden Rice boycotts; or getting sick and dying from lung and intestinal diseases, because these radical greens also oppose large-scale electrical generating plants
The huge letters the Greenpeace gang used to desecrate this sensitive cultural site are plastic! Which is made from petroleum! Which Greenpeace denounces as evil and planet-destroying! The “go solar” slogan on the mountains above Machu Picchu was projected using equipment that was powered by hydrocarbons. What hypocrites these campaigners be!
CFACT representatives had an opportunity to speak with some Inca people at their sacred places, and with local Peruvian leaders in Lima. We visited with respect and forged friendships. That’s what happens when you care about people.
Many politicians and business people are afraid to stand up to Big Green bully groups. CFACT is unafraid. We have challenged Greenpeace and Big Green at every opportunity, such as here, here, here and here. We are committed to working for people, as well as nature.
Greenpeace has hundreds of millions of dollars a year at its disposal for its fight against human freedom, health and prosperity. We have a tiny fraction of that. But we make it count - not just on educational efforts, but for programs that directly support and assist poor indigenous villages and people.
Meanwhile, also in Peru, our Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow was holding a press conference during the latest United Nations meeting on climate change. It featured the notable skeptic of “dangerous manmade global warming” NASA Apollo VII astronaut and American hero Col. Walt Cunningham, along with me and CFACT director of communications Marc Morano. As is always the case with events at the UN climate confabs, we had been given a 30-minute slot to present our entire program. It was one of a very few “skeptical” presentations during the entire week-long gabfest.
But then, barely 18 minutes into our presentation, we were abruptly told we were being booted off the stage, to create a platform for a photo op for newly arrived U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who is attending the UN talks to promote a new UN climate treaty. This is the same John Kerry who said in October that, “if skeptics are wrong: catastrophe… Life as you know it on Earth ends.” Kerry has also declared that climate change “may be, in fact the most serious challenge we face on the planet” - posing even “greater long-term consequences” than Islamic State, terrorism or Ebola.
Kerry was scheduled to do a talk in a different room, but supposedly needed our press room for his photo op. CFACT’s speakers politely left as requested and then the room remained empty for at least another 35 minutes. Col. Cunningham’s informative talk was interrupted for no just or valid reason.
This was outrageous. We are one of the few voices of reason at the conference. To interrupt and abruptly end our press conference smacks of censorship. It was particularly obnoxious since the room remained vacant for more than a half hour after we left. But as others have noted, in Massachusetts people have long called Mr. Kerry “John Live Shot,” because he eagerly crashes other people’s events to get on camera.
Before being told to leave, Col. Cunningham had slammed the UN climate Summit for perpetrating “one of the biggest frauds in the field of science.” Our panel also featured Marc Morano, editor of our hugely successful Climate Depot.com news and information service, who told the gathered media that, “the UN climate process will do nothing for climate change and is completely designed to enrich the UN.”
CFACT’s delegation at the UN climate talks did not break stride. We got right back to work. Selected highlights of our shortened press conference can be read and viewed here.
The UN climate process needs more voices like CFACT’s, presenting reason, sound science and concern for the world’s poor. The UN bureaucrats could surely have allowed us the courtesy of concluding our presentations during our last 12 minutes – which would still have left 23 minutes of vacant space before Secretary Kerry’s photo op!
Turning energy policies over to callous, inefficient, arrogant and unaccountable UN bureaucrats should certainly anger people who are struggling with skyrocketing energy prices – or with the abject poverty, disease and premature death that comes from not having any access to reliable, affordable energy. These are just a few of the many reasons for opposing any new UN climate treaty, which Greenpeace, President Obama and IPCC Chairman Rajendra Pachauri want to impose without our consent.
As we have seen all too often, the road to hell is paved with “good intentions” as though purportedly good intentions can in any way make up for the horrid, destructive results that are actually imposed.
In reality, Greenpeace and outfits like it typically represent two kinds of people: sincerely worried and gullible young followers, who want to salve their guilt for enjoying modern living standards and callous, arrogant leaders, who understand all too well the lethal consequences of their policies, but take advantage of the naivete and good intentions of their followers, to drive their agenda forward.
CFACT will continue to educate the former, while blasting the latter.
Note how the Friends of Science in Canada are doing battle with the eco fanatics at the Sierra Club in this release.
Appollo Astronaut rushed off stage at UN Climate Summit to make way for Kerry Photo Op
Despite being given a slot of 30 minutes for their talk, they were told they had to “wrap up” after 18 minutes into their presentation to make room for Secretary Kerry who is attending the UN talks to promote a new UN climate treaty. Kerry said in October that ”If [skeptics are] wrong: catastrophe...Life as you know it on Earth ends.” Kerry has also declared that climate change “may be, in fact, the most serious challenge we face on the planet.”
I would have be more confident in the good senators never let a good crisis go to waste idea if he got something beyond a D in Rocks for Jocks
Its ironic isn’t it. Guys like Walt Cunningham were heroes to little guys like me but when I was a kid, so was a president that was a senator from Massachusetts. There were 4 things I loved as a kid ( outside of family).. weather, politics ( when growing up, would watch the Sunday talk shows, and wanted to be president) History and Space. As such. Mercury, Gemini, Apollo were all big deals to me. The astronauts were heroes, along with a certain senator from Massachusetts that became president when I was just 5. Nasa represented man reaching beyond his grasp. Like him or not, John Kennedy not only challenging his countrymen, but letting the world know who the torch was passed too, is something that even today is something sorely missed by people like me
Think about what Kennedy and NASA meant. When the Russians launched the space race, NO way was the US going to let a system that destroyed the hopes of the individual out perform the nation that had a constitution that stressed the opposite. People thought it was a waste of time and money. But the light of possibility to a free and competitive people meant more than just who got to the moon fastest.
So, here we have one of the heroes from my day, getting cut short in his anti AGW presentation, by a former senator from Massachusetts. The guy getting cut short is still a hero to me. For all of his now listed imperfections, the light of possibility that the former senator, turned president, in1960 represented, is still heroic to me. Men are not Gods, and fall fall short of it. But there is something to striving for something higher even with the demons all of us have that we must confront.
But in 2014 look who gets pushed off stage because of who is coming on. And over what??? Global warming????
Perhaps the problem is that we have people today who cant measure up to the idea of possibilities that we embraced in 1960, so instead need to find something that can make them look heroic, but have no chance to actually be resolved.
The moon is there and we got there. Its always risky to actually commit to a tangible goal, as opposed to one that no one can truly define, and never gets you to confront the true problem, the desire to measure up to things in a way where you actually see where you stand.
The Cunninghams, the Kennedy’s etc of that generation did shoot for things where success and failure could be measured, and we were better off for it
A Commentary by John Stossel
People argue about whether the “consensus” of scientists is that we face disaster because of global warming. Instead of debating whether man’s greenhouse gasses will raise temperatures, we should argue about how we gauge disasters.
If you take most environmentalists and climate scientists at their word, the Earth heated up about 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit over the past century, not much more than it heated up the century before that. Warming may increase, but no one can be certain of that.
Let’s agree for the sake of argument that this recent warming was partly caused by humanity. Let’s also agree that there are some negative effects, including more frequent coastal flooding or longer droughts.
If we agree that those are costs, shouldn’t we also look at the benefits? Much of modern civilization owes its existence to our use of the fossil fuels that produce the greenhouse gasses.
I don’t see that civilization as misfortune. I wish climate alarmists would weigh its accomplishments against the relatively small downsides of climate change. One of industry’s biggest accomplishments is creating a world where far fewer of us are likely to die because of weather.
Alex Epstein’s book ”The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels” documents the rapidly shrinking number of human beings killed by storms, floods and other climate events thanks largely to ever-growing industry, fueled mainly by oil, natural gas and coal.
On my show this week, he argues that if we compare conditions a century ago to conditions last year, we shouldn’t obsess about how much carbon dioxide is in the air—or whether earth is warming—we should look at how much safer life became. Icecap Note: See this report by Indur Goklany.
See how it increased life expectancy:
In 2013, “Climate-related deaths were at a record low—in supposedly the worst climate in history—under 30,000,” says Epstein. In 1931, bad weather killed 3 million people.
You can argue that we get some things wrong as a civilization, but thanks to our use of fossil fuels, we get something very right.
Epstein points out that humanity owes its current ability to survive harsh winters, arid deserts and other naturally dangerous environments to the same fuels that activists now condemn: “We have the luxury of being able to absorb a certain amount of climate-related damage so we can live in all of these cool places.”
His argument is unusual because environmentalists spread the idea that, without human interference, the planet is perfect.
But by what standard?
“If you went to someone 300 years ago and asked them, do you have a perfect climate?” they would think you were crazy, says Epstein. “They were terrified of climate, because climate doesn’t give you the resources that you need. It doesn’t give you water when you need it. It doesn’t give you the temperature when you need it.”
It was once common to say that humans change their environment. That shouldn’t offend people today, says Epstein. We should be thrilled that humans “create technology to master climate… That’s why so few people today die from climate.”
Epstein correctly says that instead of talking about “climate change”—of which there will always be some, with or without human influence—we should focus on “climate catastrophe,” weather that actually kills people. Those catastrophes, measured in lost lives, are getting rarer.
Most of the changes humans make to our environment are desirable changes that help us live longer and more comfortably. “The dogma that man is ruining the planet rather than improving it is a religion, a source of prestige and a career for too many people.”
If we regard nature as pristine and think it must never be altered, we will have big problems. We will die young and lead miserable, difficult lives.
I think of industry as something that is mostly very good for us, with a few minor side effects that aren’t. Fossil fuels are a little like antibiotics, says Epstein. It’s good to draw attention to minor side effects, but it would be crazy to abandon all treatment because of them.
Fossil fuels are no catastrophe. They contribute to health and a better life.
John Stossel is host of “Stossel” on Fox News and author of “No They Can’t! Why Government Fails, but Individuals Succeed.” For other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com.