Unfortunately hundreds of people died last night in a horrific storm that foreshadows the increasing frequency and severity of weather events likely to occur as climate change intensifies.
Let's look at the frequency of tornadoes over time. Even though individual years may vary up or down in numbers, the overall trend is for an increasing number of tornadoes. That is how statistics works. Statistics isn't about individual elements of a process, it is about the overall process. The following official chart based on scientific data clearly shows an increasing trajectory.
NOAA National Climatic Data Center, State of the Climate: Tornadoes for Annual 2010, published online December 2010, retrieved on April 28, 2011 from http://lwf.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/tornadoes/2010/13.
We are living through, so far, the first individually discernible new weather phenomena in quite some time. There have been years without summers. Humans were impacted by Ice Ages, but as far as I know no records were created documenting it. This is the first time we as a species have known that climate is changing and there is a possibility that we could mitigate the change to some degree. We are not doing so because of superstitious suspicion of science and political manipulation for economic gain.
The cost of promoting ignorance in our citizenry is loss of life, livelihood, and perhaps, our planet as we know it. That unpredictable social impact will result from climate change, shifts, and extremes is evident in food shortages and political unrest.
Weather cannot be tamed nor can it be predicted with complete certainty, but it is something for which you can prepare. Here are some starting points for weather preparedness.
- Weather Safety and Awareness
- Be Prepared for Spring; Severe Weather
- Weather/emergency Notification Radios
At one level it dosen't really matter what caused the increasing intensity of weather phenomena. It is with us and we are going to have to deal with it. One of the best sources I've found for updates on what is happening and what are current thoughts on the topic is Daily Climate.