Tornado-spawning storms may get worse due to warming
Climate Signals background: There’s increasing evidence linking global warming to changes in the severe weather that gives rise to tornadoes.
America will probably get more killer tornado- and hail-spawning supercells as the world warms, according to a new study that also warns the lethal storms will edge eastward to strike more frequently in the more populous Southern states, like Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee.
The supercell storm that devastated Rolling Fork, Mississippi is a single event that can’t be connected to climate change. But it fits that projected and more dangerous pattern, including more nighttime strikes in a southern region with more people, poverty and vulnerable housing than where storms hit last century. And the season will start a month earlier than it used to.
The study in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society predicts a nationwide 6.6% increase in supercells and a 25.8% jump in the area and time the strongest supercells twist and tear over land under a scenario of moderate levels of future warming by the end of the century. But in certain areas in the South the increase is much higher. That includes Rolling Fork, where study authors project an increase of one supercell a year by the year 2100.
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